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.T ^(G (D M i\ S^. 

jiliaibci'bf Hieury CoOmra GcedL Miarlbaixm^ Sttcet TCii.- 







THE YEARS 1826 AND 1836, 








M ■^ 





Printed by J. L. Cox and Sons, 75. Great Queen Street, 

Lincoln's-Inn Fields. 







R.N., F.R.S. 







I have the honour of dedicating to your lordship, 
as Head of the Naval Service, this narrative of 
the Surveying Voyages of the Adventure and 
Beagle, between the years 1826 and 1836. 

Originated by the Board of Admiralty, over 
which Viscount Melville presided, these voyages 
have been carried on, since 1830, under his lord- 
ship's successors in office. 

Captain King has authorized me to lay the 
results of the Expedition which he commanded, 
from 1826 to 1830, before your lordship, united 
to those of the Beagle's subsequent voyages. 

I have the honour to be, 


Your lordship's obedient servant, 



In this Work, the result of nine years' voyaging, partly 
on coasts little known, an attempt has been made to combine 
giving general information with the paramount object — that of 
fulfilling a duty to the Admiralty, for the benefit of Seamen. 

Details, purely technical, have been avoided in the narrative 
more than I could have wished ; but some are added in the 
Appendix to each volume : and in a nautical memoir, drawn 
up for the Admiralty, those which are here omitted will be 

There are a few words used frequently in the following 
pages, which may not at first sight be familiar to every reader, 
therefore I need hardly apologize for saying that, although 
the great Portuguese navigator's name was Magalhaens — it is 
generally pronounced as if written Magellan : — that the 
natives of Tierra del Fuego are commonly called Fuegians; — 
and that Childe is thus accented for reasons given in page 384 
of the second volume. 

In the absence of Captain King, who has entrusted to me 
the care of publishing his share of this work, I may have 
overlooked errors which he would have detected. Being 
hurried, and unwell, while attending to the printing of his 
volume, I was not able to do it justice. 


It may be a subject of regret, that no paper on the Botany 
of Tierra del Fuego is appended to the first volume. Captain 
King took great pains in forming and preserving a botanical 
collection, aided by a person embarked solely for that purpose. 
He placed this collection in the British Museum, and was led 
to expect that a first-rate botanist would have examined and 
described it ; but he has been disappointed. 

In conclusion, I beg to remind the reader, that the work is 
unavoidably of a rambling and very mixed character ; that 
some parts may be wholly uninteresting to most readers, 
though, perhaps, not devoid of interest to all ; and that its 
publication arises solely from a sense of duty. 

London, March 1839. 


In 1825, the Lords Commissioners of the 
Admiralty directed two ships to be prepared for a 
Survey of the Southern Coasts of South America : 
and in May, of the following year, the Adventure 
and the Beagle were lying in Plymouth Sound, 
ready to carry the orders of their Lordships into 

These vessels were well provided with every 
necessary, and every comfort, which the liberality 
and kindness of the Admiralty, Navy Board, and 
officers of the Dock-yards, could cause to be 

On board the Adventure, a roomy ship, of 3o0 
tons burthen, without guns,* lightly though strongly 
rigged, and very strongly built, were — 

Phillip Parker King, Commander and Surveyor, Senior 
Officer of the Expedition. 

J. Cooke Lieutenant. 

B. AiNswoRTH Master. 

J. Tarn Surgeon. 

• Excepting one fnr signals. 


G. RowLETT Purser. 

R. H. Sholl Mate. 

J. C. WicKHAM Mate. 

J. F. Brand Mate. 

T. Graves Mate and Assistant Surveyor. 

G. Harrison Mate. 

E. Williams Second Master. 

J. Park Assistant Surgeon. 

W.W.Wilson Midshipman. 

A. Millar Master's Assistant. 

A. Mellersh Volunteer 1st Class. 

J.Russell Volunteer 2d Class. 

G. HoDGSKiN Clerk. 



J. Anderson Botanical Collector. 

Gunner Boatswain and Carpenter. 

Serjeant and fourteen Marines ; and about forty Seamen and 

In the Beagle, a well-built little vessel, of 235 
tons, rigged as a barque, and carrying six guns, 
were — 

Pringle Stokes Commander and Surveyor. 

E. Hawes Lieutenant. 

W. G. Sktring ...... Lieut, and Assist. Surveyor. 

S. S. Flinn Master. 

E. BowEN Surgeon. 

J. Atrill Purser. 

J. KiRKE Mate. 

B. Bynoe Assistant Surgeon. 

J. L. Stokes Midshipman. 

R. F. Lunie Volunteer 1st Class. 

W.Jones Volunteer 2d Class. 

J. Macdouall Clerk. 


Serjeant and nine Marines ; and about forty Seamen and Boys, 


In the course of the voyage, several changes 
occurred among the officers, which it may be well 
to mention here. 

In September, 1826, Lieutenant Hawes inva- 
lided : and was succeeded by Mr. R, H. Sholl, the 
senior mate in the Expedition. 

In February, 1827, Mr. Ainsworth was unfortu- 
nately drowned; and, in his place, Mr. Williams 
acted, until superseded by Mr. S. S. Flinn, of the 

Lieutenant Cooke invalided in June, 1827 ; and 
was succeeded by Mr. J. C. Wickham. 

In the same month Mr. Graves received infor- 
mation of his promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. 

Between May and December, 1827, Mr. Bowen 
and Mr. Atrill invalided ; besides Messrs. Lunie, 
Jones, and Macdouall : Mr. W. Mogg joined the 
Beagle, as acting Purser; and Mr. D. Brail y, as 
volunteer of the second class. 

Mr. Bynoe acted as Surgeon of the Beagle, after 
Mr. Bowen left, until December, 1828. 

In August, 1828, Captain Stokes's lamented 
vacancy was temporarily filled by Lieutenant Sky- 
ring ; whose place was taken by Mr. Brand. 

Mr. Flinn was then removed to the Adventure ; 
and Mr. A. Millar put into his place. 


In December, 1828, the Commander-in-chief of 
the Station (Sir Robert Waller Otway) superseded 
the temporary arrangements of Captain King, and 
appointed a commander, lieutenant, master, and 
surgeon to the Beagle. Mr. Brand then invalided, 
and the lists of officers stood thus — 

Adventure (1828-30). 

Phillip Parker King, Commander and Surveyor, Senior 
Officer of the Expedition. 

T. Graves Lieut, and Assist. Surveyor. 

J. C. WicKHAM Lieutenant. 

S. S. Flinn Master. 

J. Tarn Surgeon. 

G. Rowlett Purser. 

G.Harrison Mate. 

W. W. Wilson Mate. 

E.Williams Second Master. 

J. Park Assistant Surgeon. 

A. Mellersh Midshipman. 

A.Millar Master's Assistant. 

J. Russell Volunteer 2d Class. 

G. HoDGSKiN Clerk. 

J. Anderson Botanical Collector. 

Gunner Boatswain and Carpenter. 

Serjeant and fourteen Marines : and about fifty* Seamen and 

Beagle (1828-30). 
Robert Fitz-Rot . . . Commander and Surveyor. 

W. G. Skyring Lieut, and Assist. Surveyor. 

J. Kempe Lieutenant. 

M.Murray Master. 

* Twelve additional seamen having been ordered, by the Admiralty, 
for the Adelaide schooner. 


J. Wilson Surgeon. 

W. MoGG (Acting) Purser. 

J. KiRKE Mate. 

B. Bynoe Assistant Surgeon. 

J. L. Stokes Midshipman. 

J. May Carpenter. 

D. Braily Volunteer 2d Class. 

J. Megget Clerk. 

Serjeant and nine Marines : and about forty Seamen and Boys. 

In June, 1829, Lieutenant Mitchell joined the 
Adventure; and in February, 1830, Mr. A.Millar 
died very suddenly :~and very much regretted. 

The following- Instructions were given to the 
Senior Officer of the Expedition. 

" By the Commissioners for executing the Office of 
Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom of 
Great Britain and Ireland, &c. 

" Whereas we think fit that an accurate Survey 
should be made of the Southern Coasts of the 
Peninsula of South America, from the southern 
entrance of the River Plata, round to Chiloe ; and 
of Tierra del Fuego ; and whereas we have been 
induced to repose confidence in you, from your 
conduct of the Surveys in New Holland ; we have 
placed you in the command of His Majesty's 
Surveying Vessel the Adventure ; and we have 
directed Captain Stokes, of His Majesty's Survey- 
ing Vessel the Beagle, to follow your orders. 

" Both these vessels are ]>rovided with all the 


means which are necessary for the complete execu- 
tion of the object above-mentioned, and for the 
health and comfort of their Ships' Companies. You 
are also furnished with all the information, we at 
present possess, of the ports which you are to survey ; 
and nine Government Chronometers have been em- 
barked in the Adventure, and three in the Beagle, 
for the better determination of the Longitudes. 

" You are therefore hereby required and directed, 
as soon as both vessels shall be in all respects ready, 
to put to sea with them ; and on your way to your 
ulterior destination, you are to make, or call at, the 
following places, successively ; namely ; Madeira : 
Teneriffe : the northern point of St. Antonio, and 
the anchorage at St. Jago ; both in the Cape Verd 
Islands : the Island of Trinidad, in the Southern 
Atlantic : and Rio de Janeiro : for the purpose of 
ascertaining the differences of the longitudes of 
those several places. 

" At Rio de Janeiro, you will receive any supplies 
you may require ; and make with the Commander- 
in-chief, on that Station, such arrangements as may 
tend to facilitate your receiving further supplies, in 
the course of your Expedition. 

" After which, you are to proceed to the entrance 
of the River Plata, to ascertain the longitudes of 
the Cape Santa Maria, and Monte Video : you are 
then to proceed to survey the Coasts, Islands, and 
Straits ; from Cape St. Antonio, at the south side 


of the River Plata, to Chiloe; on the west coast of 
America ; in such manner and order, as the state 
of the season, the information you may have re- 
ceived, or other circumstances, may induce you to 

" You are to continue on this service until it shall 
be completed ; taking every opportunity to commu- 
nicate to our Secretary, and the Commander-in- 
Chief, your proceedings : and also, whenever you 
may be able to form any judgment of it, where the 
Commander-in-Chief, or our Secretary, may be able 
to communicate with you. 

*' In addition to any arrangements made with the 
Admiral, for recruiting your stores, and provisions ; 
you are, of course, at liberty to take all other means, 
which may be within your reach, for that essential 

" You are to avail yourself of every opportunity 
of collecting and preserving Specimens of such 
objects of Natural History as may be new, rare^ or 
interesting ; and you are to instruct Captain Stokes, 
and all the other OlEficers, to use their best diligence 
in increasing the Collections in each ship : the 
whole of which must be understood to belong to 
the Public. 

*' In the event of any irreparable accident happen- 
ing to either of the two vessels, you are to cause 
the officers and crew of the disabled vessel to be 



removed into the other, and with her, singly, to 
proceed in prosecution of the service, or return to 
England, according as circumstances shall appear to 
require ; understanding that the officers and crews 
of both vessels are hereby authorized, and required, 
to continue to perform their duties, according to 
their respective ranks and stations, on board either 
vessel to which they may be so removed. Should, 
unfortunately, your own vessel be the one disabled, 
you are in that case to take the command of the 
Beagle: and, in the event of any fatal accident hap- 
pening to yourself; Captain Stokes is hereby au- 
thorized to take the command of the Expedition ; 
either on board the Adventure, or Beagle, as he 
may prefer ; placing the officer of the Expedition 
who may then be next in seniority to him, in com- 
mand of the second vessel : also, in the event of 
your inability, by sickness or otherwise, at any 
period of this service, to continue to carry the 
Instructions into execution, you are to transfer them 
to Captain Stokes, or to the surviving officer then 
next in command to you, who is hereby required to 
execute them, in the best manner he can, for the 
attainment of the object in view. 

" When you shall have completed the service, or 
shall, from any cause, be induced to give it up ; you 
will return to Spithead with all convenient expedi- 
tion ; and report your arrival, and proceedings, to 
our Secretary, for our information. 


" Whilst on the South American Station, you 
are to consider yourself under the command of 
the Admiral of that Station; to whom we have 
expressed our desire that he should not interfere 
with these orders, except under peculiar neces- 

" Given under our hands the 16th of May 1826. 
(Signed) " Melville. 


" To Phillip P. King, Esq., Commander 
of His Majesty's Surveying Vessel 
Adventure, at Plymouth. 

" By command of their Lordships. 

(Signed) " J. W. Croker." 

On the 22d of Mav, 1826, the Adventure and 
Beagle sailed from Plymouth ; and, in their way 
to Rio de Janeiro, called successively at Madeira, 
Teneriffe, and St. Jago. 

Unfavourable weather prevented a boat being 
sent ashore at the northern part of San Antonio; 
but observations were made in Terrafal Bay, on the 
south-west side of the island : and, after crossing 
the Equator, the Trade- wind hung so much to the 
southward, that Trinidad could not be approached 
without a sacrifice of time, which, it was consi- 
dered, might be prejudicial to more important 
objects of the Expedition. 

Both ships anchored at Rio de Janeiro on the 

b 2 


10th of August, and remained there until the 2d of 
October, when they sailed to the River Plata. 

In Maldonado,* their anchors were dropped on 
the 13th of the same month ; and, till the 12th of 
November, each vessel was employed on the north 
side of the river, between Cape St. Mary and Monte 

• On the north side of the river Plata. 




Map of South America Loose. 

Strait of Magalhaens Loose. 

Patagonian ' •• •• •• •• Frontispiece. 

Montevideo .. .. to face page 1 

Distant View of Mount Sarmiento (with two other views) . . 26 

Curious Peak — Admiralty Sound (with other views) . . . . 52 

Patagonian ' toldo ' and tomb 94 

Monte Video Mole 105 

Rio de Janeiro . . • . • • • • • • • • • • 1"" 

Fuegian Wigwams at Hope Harbour, in the Magdalen Channel 126 

Monte Video — Custom-House 187 

Corcovado Mountain .. .. .. •• •■ •• •• 188 

Mount Sarmiento • . . - - • • • • • • • • • 252 

San Carlos de Chil6e 275 

Breast Ploughing in Childe . . . . . • • • . • • • 287 

Point Arena — Chil6e (with other views) 300 

South West opening of Cockburn Channel (with views of Head- 
lands) 407 

Wollaston Island, near Cape Horn .. •• •• •• •• 433 

Chart of a part of South America, by Captain P. P. King . . 463 

Note. The loose Plates are to be folded into pockets in the covers of 

the volumes. 





Departure from Monte Video — Port Santa Elena — Geologi- 
cal remarks — Cape Fairweather — Non-existence of Chalk 
— Natural History — Approach to Cape Virgins, and the 
Strait of Magalhaens (or Magellan) 1 


Enter the Strait of Magalhaens (or Magellan), and anchor 
off Cape Possession — First Narrow — Gregory Bay — Pata- 
gonian Indians — Second Narrow — Elizabeth Island — 
Freshwater Bay — Fuegian Indians — Arrival at Port Famine 1 2 


Prepare the Beagle, and a decked boat (the Hope) for sur- 
veying the Strait — Beagle sails westward, and the Hope 
towards the south-east — Sarmiento's Voyage — and des- 
cription of the colony formed by him at Port Famine — 
Steamer Duck — Large trees — Parroquets — Mount Tarn — 
Barometrical observations — Geological character — Report 
of the Hope's cruise 26 


Deer seen — Hope sails again — Eagle Bay — Gabriel Channel 
— ' Williwaws ' — Port Waterfall — Natives — Admiralty 
Sound — Gabriel Channel — Magdalen Channel — Hope re- 
turns to Port Famine — San Antonio — Lomas Bay — Loss 
of boat — Master and two seamen drowned 48 




Lieutenant Sholl arrives — Beagle retxims — Loss of the Saxe 
Coburg sealer — Captain Stokes goes to Fury Harbour to 
save her Crew — Beagle's proceedings — Bougainville's me- 
morial — Cordova's memorial — Beagle's danger — Difficul- 
ties — Captain Stokes's boat-cruise — Passages — Natives — 
Dangerous service — Western entrance of the Strait of 
Magalhaens — Hope's cruise — Prepare to return to Monte 
Video 65 


Trees — Leave Port Famine — Patagonians — Gregory Bay — 
Bysante — Maria — FaJkner's account of the Natives — 
Indians seen on the borders of the Otway Water, in 1829 
— Maria visits the Adventure — ReHgious ceremony — Pata- 
gonian Encampment — Tomb of a Child — Women's em- 
ployment — Children — Gratitude of a Native — Size of 
Patagonians — Former accoimts of their gigantic height — 
Character — Articles for barter — Fuegians living with 
Patagonians — Ships sail — Arrive at Monte Video and Rio 
de Janeiro 84 


Leave Rio de Janeiro — Santos — S^^ Catharina — Monte 
Video — Purchase the Adelaide schooner, for a Tender to 
the Adventure — Leave Monte Video — Beagle goes to Port 
Desire — Shoals off Cape Blanco — BeUaco Rock — Cape 
Virgins — Possession Bay — First Narrow — Race — Gregory 
Bay — View — Tomb — Traffic vdth Natives — Cordial meet- 
ing — Maria goes on board — Natives intoxicated — Laredo 
Bay — Port Famine 106 


Find that the Cutter had been burned — Anxiety for the Bea- 
gle — Uxbridge Sealer — Beagle arrives — Her cruise — ^Bel- 
laco Rock — San Julian — Santa Cruz — Gallegos — Adeona 



— Death of Lieutenant Sholl — Adelaide sails — Supposed 
Channel of San Antonio — Useless Bay — Natives — Port 
San Antonio — Humming-birds — Fuegians — Beagle sails 
— Sarmiento — Roldan — Pond — Whales — Structure — 
Scenery — PortGaUant 118 


Detention in Port Gallant — Humming-birds in snow- 
showers — Fuegians — Geological remarks — Canoes — Car- 
ving — Birds — Fish — Shag Narrows — Glaciers — Avalan- 
ches — Natives — Chmate — Winter setting in — Adelaide 
loses a boat — Floods — Lightning — Scurvy — Adelaide's 
survey — ^Bougainville Harbour — Indians cross the Strait, 
and visit Port Famine — Sealing vessels sail — Scurvy in- 
creases — Adelaide sent for guanaco meat — Return of the 
Beagle — Captain Stokes very iU — Adelaide brings meat 
from the Patagonians — Death of Captain Stokes 133 


Account of the Beagle's cruise — Borja Bay — Cape Quod — 
Stuart Bay — Cape Notch — Remarks on weather, and 
errors of Chart — ^Evangelists — Santa Lucia — Madre de 
Dios — Gulf of Trinidad — Port Henry — Puma's track — 
Humming-birds — Very bad WTather — Campana Island — 
Dangers — Gale — Wet — Sick — Santa Barbara — Wager's 
beam — Wigwams — Guaineco Islands — Cape Tres Montes 
— St. Paul — Port Otway — Hoppner Sound — Cape Raper 154< 


Leave Port Otway — San Quintm Sound — Gulf of Penas 

Kelly Harbour — St. Xavier Island — Death of Serjeant 
Lyndsey — Port Xavier — Ygnacio Bay — Channel's mouth 
— Bad weather — Perilous situation — Lose the yawl — Sick 
list — Return to Port Otway — Thence to Port Famine — 
Gregory Bay — ^Natives — Guanaco meat — Skunk — Con- 
dors — Brazihans — Juanico — Captain Foster — Changes of 
officers ly^ 




Adventure sails from Rio de Janeiro to the River Plata — 
Gorriti — Maldonado — Extraordinary Pampero — Beagle's - 
losses — Ganges arrives — another Pampero — Go up the 
river for vrater — Gale, and consequent detention — Sail 
from Montevideo — part from Consorts — Port Desire 
— Tower Rock — Skeletons — Sea Bear Bay — Fire — 
Guanacoes- — Port Desire Inlet — Indian graves — ^Vessels 
separate — Captain Foster — Chanticleer — Cape Horn — 
Kater Peak — Sail from St. Martin Cove — Tribute to 
Captain Foster — ^Valparaiso — Santiago— Pinto Heights — 
Chiloe— Aldunate 189 


Beagle and Adelaide anchor in Possession Bay — ^Beagle 
passes the First Narrow — Fogs — Pecket Harbour — Ade- 
laide arrives with Guanaco meat — Portuguese Seamen — 
Peculiar light — Party missing — Return — Proceed towards 
Port Famine — Fuegians — Lieut. Skyring — Adelaide sails 
to survey Magdalen and Barbara Channels — Views — Lyell 
Sound — Kempe Harbour — Cascade Bay — San Pedi'o 
Sound — Port Gallant — Diet — Rain — Awnings — Boat 
cruise — Warning — Jerome Channel — Blanket bags — 
Otway Water — Frequent rain — Difficulty in Hghting fires 212 


Place for a Settlement — Frost — Boats in danger — ^Narrow 
escape — Sudden change — Beagle HiUs — Fuegian Painting 
Tides — Medicine — Water warmer than the air — Jerome 
Channel — Mr. Stokes retinms to the Beagle — Cape Quod 
— Snowy Sound — Whale Sound — Choiseul Bay — Return 
to the Beagle — Adelaide returns — Plan of operations — 
Difficulties removed — Preparations — ^Wear and tear of 
clothing — Ascend the Mountain de la Cruz — Sail from 
Port Gallant — Tides — Boija Bay — Cape Quod — Gulf of 
Xaultegua — Frost and snow — Meet Adelaide — Part — 
Enter Pacific— Arrive at Chiloe 230 




Extracts from the Journals of Lieutenants Skyring and 
Graves — Magdalen Channel — Keats Sound — Mount Sar- 
miento — ^Barrow Head — Cockbum Channel — Prevalence 
of south-west winds — Melville Sound — Ascent of Mount 
Skyring — Memorial — Cockbum and Barbara Channels — 
Mass of Islets and Rocks — Hewett Bay — ^Cypress trees 
useful — Adelaide rejoins Beagle in Port Gallant — Captain 
King's narrative resumed — Plan of future proceedings — 
Adelaide arrives at Chiloe — Abstract of Lieutenant Sky- 
ring's account of her proceedings — Smyth Channel — 
Mount Bumey — 'Ancon sin Salida' — Natives — Kirke 
Narrow — Guia Narrow — Pecuhar tides — Indians in plank 
Canoes — Passage to ChU6e 251 


Chiloe — Its probable importance — Valdivia founds seven 
Cities ; afterwards destroyed by the Indians — Migration of 
Spanish settlers — Province and Islands of Chiloe — Dis- 
tricts and population — Government — Defence — Winds — 
To'W'n — Durability of wooden BuUdings — Cultivation — 
Want of industry — Improvement — Dress — Habits of lower 
Classes — Morality — Schools — Language — Produce — 
Manufactures — Exports and imports — Varieties of wood — 
Alerse — Roads — Piraguas — Ploughs — Com — Potatoes — 
Contributions — Birds — SheU-fish — Medical practitioners 
— Remedies — Climate 269 


Chiloe the last Spanish possession in South America — Freyre's 
Expedition — Failure — Second Expedition rnider Freyre 
and Blanco — QuintanOla's capitulation — Chiloe taken — 
Aldunate placed in command — Chiloe a dependency of 
Chile — Beagle sails to sea coast of Tierra del Fuego — 
Adelaide repaired — Adelaide sails — Adventure goes to 



Valparaiso — Juan Fernandez — Fishery — Goats — Dogs — 
Geology — Botany — Shells — Spanish accounts — Anson's 
voyage — Talcahuano — Concepcion — Pinoleo — Araucanian 
Indians — Re-enter the Strait of Magalhaens — Fuegians 298 


Adelaide's last cruise — Port Otway — San Quintin — Marine 
Islands — Unknown river or passage — San Tadeo — Isthmus 
of Ofqui — San Rafael — Sufferings and route of Wager's 
party — Channel's Mouth — Bjrron — Cheap — EUiot — 
Hamilton — Campbell — Indian Cacique — Passage of the 
Desecho — Osorio — Xavier Island — Jesuit Sound — Kirke's 
report — Night tides — Guaianeco Islands — Site of the 
Wager's wreck — Bulkely and Cummings — Speedwell Bay 
— Indigenous wild Potato — Mesier Channel — Fatal Bay 
— Death of Mr. Millar — Fallos Channel — Lieutenant Sky- 
ring's illness — English Narrow — Fish — Wigwams — In- 
dians — Level Bay — Brazo Ancho — Eyre Sound — Seal — 
Icebergs — Walker Bay — Nature of the Country — Habits 
of the Natives — Scarcity of population 323 


Sarmiento Channel — Ancon sin Salida — Cape Earnest — 
Canal of the Moimtains — Termination of the Andes — 
Kirke Narrow — Easter Bay — Disappointment Bay — Ob- 
struction Sound — Last Hope Inlet — Swans — Coots — Deer 
River — Lagoon — Singular Eddies — Passage of the Narrow 
— Arrival at Port Famine — Zoological remarks 346 


Beagle sails from San Carlos — ^Enters Strait — Harbour of 
Mercy — Cape Pillar — Apostles — Judges — Landfall Island 
— Cape Gloucester — Dislocation Harbour — Week Islands 
— Fuegians — Latitude Bay — Boat's crew in distress — 
Petrel — Passages — Otway Bay — Cape Tate — Fincham Is- 



lands — Deepwater Sound — Breaker Bay — Grafton Islands 
— Geological remarks — ^Barbara Channel — Mount Sky- 
ring — Compasses affected — Drawings — -Provisions — Op- 
portimities lost 360 


Skyring's chart — Noir Island — Penguins — Fuegians — Sar- 
miento — Townshend Harbour — Horace Peaks — Cape 
Desolation — Boat lost — Basket — Search in Desolation Bay 
— Natives — Heavy Gale — Surprise — Seizure — Conse- 
quences — Retm^n to Beagle — Sail to Stew^art Harbour — 
Set out again — Escape of Natives — Unavailing search — 
Discomforts — Tides — Nature of Coast — Doris Cove — 
Christmas Sound — Cook — York-Minster — March Har- 
bour — ^Build a boat — Treacherous rocks — Skirmish with 
the Natives — Captives — Boat Memory — Petrel 386 


Mr. Murray returns — Go to New Year Sound — See Diego 
Ramirez Islands from Henderson Island — WeddeU's Indian 
Cove — Sympiesometer — Return to Christmas Sound — 
Beagle sails — Passes the Ildefonso and Diego Ramirez 
Islands — Anchors in Nassau Bay — Orange Bay — Yapoos 
— Mr. Murray discovers the Beagle Channel — Numerous 
Natives — Guanacoes — Compasses affected — Cape Horn — 
Specimens — Chanticleer — Mistake about St. Francis Bay 
— ^Diego Ramirez Islands — Chmate — San Joachim Cove — 
Bamevelt Isles — Evouts Isle — Lennox Harbour 417 


Set out in boats — Find Guanacoes — Murray Narrow — ^BircL 
Fungus — Tide — Channel — Glaciers — View — Mountains 
Unbroken chain — Passages — Steam-vessels — Jemmy But- 
ton — Puma — Nest — Accident — Natives — Murray's Jour- 
nal — Cape Graham — Cape Kinnaird — Spaniard Harbour 



— ^Valentjm Bay — Cape Good Success — Natives — Lennox 
Island — Strait le Maire — Good Success Bay — Accident — 
Tide race — San Vicente — San Diego — Tides — Soundings 
— North-East Coast — Ssm Sebastian — Reflections — Port 
Desire — Monte Video — Santa Catharina — Rio de Janeiro 438 


A few Nautical remarks upon the passage round Cape Horn ; 
and upon that through the Strait of Magalhaens, or Ma- 
gellan 463 


Page 76> I'le 4 from bottom, /or lying, read being. 

1 18, Heading, line 4, firr Beagle sailed, read Beagle sails. 

123, line 17, insert narrow, before and shoal. 

164, line 23, instead o/the, read our, 

174, line 6, for cuts, read cut. 

193, line 5, far have, read had. 

223, (Note) line 2 from bottom, far they, read he. 

229, line 9, for was, «ad were. 

265, line 8, after day, tnse)-« a colon instead of a comma. 

273, line 21, after as well, ir^ert as. 

301, line 23, for Lieutenants Skyring and Graves again took with them, read Lieutenant 

Skyring again took with him. 
411, line2, dete the. 
437, line 16, for contiue, read continue. 

— line 19, for wit, read with. 

462, line 21, for Santa Catalina, read Santa Catharina. 
473, line 17, after which is, insert a. 
481, bottom line, for 53. 32. 30, read 53. 52. 30. 
48.'i, line?, (of positions) /or 53. 31, read 53. 51. 

— bottom line, /or 11. 51, read 3. 26. 

488, line 9, for Northern, read Southern. 

489, line 4 from bottom, for 46. 03, read 46. 30 ; and for 40. 50, read 40. 05. 

490, line 6, for 5(1°, read 49°. 

491, line 6, for 36. 56, read 36. 16 

493, line 9, for 54. 30. 00, read 54. 05. 20; and/nj- 73. I. 30, read 73. 25. 30. 
526, for Variation, read Dip. 


529, line 8, fur Harlau read HarlaiL 

531, line 6, for Keroda read Kebodon. 



532, line 1, for Dum^rel, read Dum^ril. 

— line 7, for Miloago, read Milvago. 

— line 19, for Sparoerhjs, read Sparverius. 

533, line 16, dele Spix 

— bottom line, for Silvia, read Sylvia, and in next page the same. 

534, line 12, dele Fursa, Veillot. 

— line 10 from bottom, /or Smaragdimis, i-ead Smabagdinus. 

536, line 9 from bottom, for Strutheo, read Struthio. 

— line 6 from bottom, for rinacea, read binacea. 

537, line li, for Totamus, read Tot ANUS. 

538, line 5, for subtas, read subtus. 

— lower lines, where Hckmatopus occurs, read Hjematopus. 

540, last line, for meneque, read mineque ; and for parU, read parce. 

541, line 12,/o)-Catarrhoctbs, read Catabrhactes. 

— line 2 from bottom, for ud, read ad. 
543, line 13, for gracillimus, read gracillimis. 

543, last line, for brachyptera, read brachypterus ; for Patachoniea, read Patac?irmicus, 





Departure from Monte Video — Port Santa Elena — Geological remarks 
— Cape Fairweather — Non-existence of Chalk — Natural History — 
Approach to Cape Virgins, and the Strait of Magalhaens (or 

We sailed from Monte Video on the 19th of November 
1826; and, in company with the Beagle, quitted the river 

According to my Instructions, the Survey was to commence 
at Cape San Antonio, the southern Limit of the entrance of 
the Plata ; but, for the following urgent reasons, I decided to 
begin with the southern coasts of Patagonia, and Tierra del 
Fuego, including the Straits of Magalhaens.* In the first 
place, they presented a field of great interest and novelty ; and 
secondly, the climate of the higher southern latitudes being so 
severe and tempestuous, it appeared important to encounter its 
rigours while the ships were in good condition — while the 
crews were healthy — and while the charms of a new and diffi- 
cult enterprize had full force. 

* Commonly called Magellan. See p. 11. 
VOL. I. B 


Our course was therefore southerly, and in latitude 45° south, 
a few leagues northward of Port Santa Elena, we first saw the 
coast of Patagonia. I intended to visit that port ; and, on the 
28th, anchored, and landed there. 

Seamen should remember that a knowledge of the tide is of 
especial consequence in and near Port Santa Elena. During a 
calm we were carried by it towards reefs which line the shore, 
and were obliged to anchor until a breeze sprung vip. 

The coast along which we had passed, from Point Lobos to 
the north-east point of Port Santa Elena, appeared to be 
dry and bare of vegetation. There were no trees ; the land 
seemed to be one long extent of undulating plain, beyond 
which were high, flat-topped hills of a rocky, precipitous 
character. The shore was fronted by rocky reefs extend- 
ing two or three miles from high-water mark, which, as the 
tide fell, were left dry, and in many places were covered with 

As soon as we had secured the ships. Captain Stokes accom- 
panied me on shore to select a place for our observations. 
We found the spot which the Spanish astronomers of Malas- 
pina's Voyage (in 1798) used for their observatory, the most 
convenient for our purpose. It is near a very steep shingle 
(stony) beach at the back of a conspicuous red-coloured, rocky 
projection which terminates a small bay, on the western side, 
at the head of the port. The remains of a wreck, which proved 
to be that of an American whaler, the Decatur of New York, 
were found upon the extremity of the same point ; she had 
been driven on shore from her anchors durinsf a s;ale. 

The sight of the wreck, and the steepness of the shingle 
beach just described, evidently caused by the frequent action 
of a heavy sea, did not produce a favourable opinion of the 
safety of the port : but as it was not the season for easterly 
gales, to which only the anchorage is exposed, and as appear- 
ances indicated a westerly wind, we did not anticipate danger. 
While we were returning on board, the wind blew, so 
strongly that we had much difficulty in reaching the ships, 
and the boats were no sooner hoisted up, and every thing 


made snug, than it blew a hard gale from the S.W. The 
water however, from the wind being off the land, was perfectly 
smooth, and the ships rode securely through the night : but 
the following morning the gale increased, and veered to the 
southward, which threw a heavy sea into the port, placing 
us, to say the least, in a very uneasy situation. Happily it 
ceased at sunset. In consequence of the unfavourable state of 
the weather, no attempt was made to land in order to observe 
an eclipse of the sun ; to make which observation was one 
reason for visiting this port. 

The day after the gale, while I was employed in making 
some astronomical observations, a party roamed about in quest 
of game : but with little success, as they killed only a few wild 
ducks. The fire which they made for cooking communicated 
to the dry stubbly grass, and in a few minutes the whole 
country was in a blaze. The flames continued to spread dur- 
ing our stay, and, in a few days, more than fifteen miles along 
the coast, and seven or eight miles into the interior were over- 
run by the fire. The smoke very much impeded our observa- 
tions, for at times it quite obscured the sun. 

The geological structure of this part of the covmtry, and a 
considerable portion of the coast to the north and south, consists 
of a fine-grained porphyritic clay slate. The summits of the 
hills near the coast are generally of a rounded form, and are 
paved, as it were, with small, rounded, siliceous pebbles, imbed- 
ded in the soil, and in no instance lying loose or in heaps ; but 
those of the interior are flat-topped, and uniform in height, for 
many miles in extent. The valleys and lower elevations, not- 
withstanding the poverty and parched state of the soil, were 
partially covered with grass and shrubby plants, which afford 
sustenance to numerous herds of guanacoes. Many of these 
animals were observed feedino- near the beach when we were 
working into the bay, but they took the alarm, so that upon 
landing we only saw them at a considerable distance. In none 
of our excursions could we find any water that had not a 
brackish taste. Several wells have been dug in the valleys, 
both near the sea and at a considerable distance from it, by the 

li 2 

4 OYSTERS — auADRUPEDs. Dec. 1896. 

crews of sealing vessels ; but, except in the rainy season, they 
all contain saltish water. This observation is applicable to 
nearly the whole extent of the porphyritic country. Oyster- 
shells, three or four inches in diameter, were found, scattered 
over the hills, to the height of three or four hundred feet above 
the sea. Sir John Narborough, in 1652, found oyster-shells at 
Port San Julian ; but, from a great many which have been lately 
collected there, we know that they are of a species different 
from that found at Port Santa Elena. Both are fossils. 

No recent specimen of the genus Ostrea was found by us on 
any part of the Patagonian coast. Narborough, in noticing 
those at Port San Julian, says, " They are the biggest oyster- 
shells that I ever saw, some six, some seven inches broad, yet 
not one oyster to be found in the harbour : whence I conclude 
they were here Avhen the world was formed." 

The short period of our visit did not enable us to add much 
to natural history. Of quadrupeds we saw guanacoes, foxes, 
cavies, and the armadillo ; but no traces of the puma (Felis 
concolor), or South American lion, although it is to be met 
with in the interior. 

I mentioned that a herd of guanacoes was feeding near the 
shore when we arrived. Every exertion was made to obtain some 
of the animals ; but, either from their shyness, or our igno- 
rance of the mode of entrapping them, we tried in vain, until 
the arrival of a small sealing-vessel, which had hastened to our 
assistance, upon seeing the fires we had accidentally made, but 
which her crew thought were intended for signals of distress. 
They shot two, and sent some of the meat on board the Adven- 
ture. The next day, Mr. Tarn succeeded in shooting one, a 
female, which, when skinned and cleaned, weighed 168 lbs. 
Narborough mentions having killed one at Port San Julian, 
that weighed, " cleaned in his quarters, 268 lbs." The watch- 
ful and wary character of this animal is very remarkable. 
Whenever a herd is feeding, one is posted, like a sentinel, on a 
height ; and, at the approach of danger, gives instant alarm 
by a loud neigh, when away they all go, at a hand-gallop, to 
the next eminence, where they quietly resume their feeding. 

Dec. 1826. natural history. 5 

until again warned of the approach of danger by their vigilant 
' look-out.' 

Another peculiarity of the guanaco is, the habit of resorting 
to particular spots for natural purposes. This is mentioned in 
the ' Dictionnaire d'Histoire Naturelle,' in the ' Encyclopedic 
Methodique,"' as well as other works. 

In one place we found the bones of thirty-one guanacoes 
collected within a space of thirty yards, perhaps the result of 
an encampment of Indians, as evident traces of them were 
observed ; among which were a human jaw-bone, and a piece 
of agate ingeniously chipped into the shape of a spear-head. 

The fox, which we did not take, appeared to be small, and 
similar to a new species afterwards found by us in the Strait of 

The cavia* (or, as it is called by Narborough, Byron, and 
Wood, the hare, an animal from which it differs both in appear- 
ance and habits, as well as flavour), makes a good dish ; and so 
does the armadillo, which our people called the shell-pig."f" 
This little animal is found abundantly about the low land, and 
lives in burrows underground ; several were taken by the 
seainen, and, when cooked in their shells, were savoury and 

Teal were abundant upon the marshy grounds. A few par- 
tridges, doves, and snipes, a rail, and some hawks were shot. 
The few sea-birds that were observed consisted of two species 
of gulls, a grebe and a penguin {Aptenodytes Magellanica). 

We found two species of snakes and several kinds of lizards. 
Fish were scarce, as were also insects ; of the last, our collec- 

• Dasyprocta patacJionica : it is the Patagoniaii cavy of Dr. Shaw, and 
Pennant's Quadr., tab. 39, and the li'cvre pumpa of D'Azara. M. Desma- 
rest thinks that if the teeth were examined it would form a new genus, for 
which he proposes the name of Dolichotis (Ency. Meth. Mamm. p. 359). 
At present he has, from its external character, placed it amongst the genus 
Dasyprocta (agouti). The only one that was taken was not preserved, 
which prevented me from ascertaining the fact. 

t Dasypus minutus, Desm. Tatou pichiy, or taloii, scptie7ne of D' Azara, 
&c. &c. It has seven bands. 


tions consisted only of a few species of Coleoptera, two or three 
Lepidoptera, and two Hymenoptera. 

Among the sea-shells, the most abundant was the Patella 
deaurata, Lamk. ; this, with three other species of Patella, one 
Chiton, three species of Mytilus, three of Murex, one of Crepi- 
dula, and a Venus, were all that we collected. 

About the country, near the sea^shore, there is a small tree, 
whose stem and roots are highly esteemed for fuel by the crews 
of sealing-vessels which frequent this coast. They call it 
' piccolo.' The leaf was described to me as having a prickle 
upon it, and the flower as of a yellow colour. A species of 
berberis also is found, which when ripe may afford a very 
palatable fruit. 

Our short visit gave us no flattering opinion of the fertility 
of the country near this port. Of the interior we were igno- 
rant ; but, from the absence of Indians and the scarcity of 
fresh water, it is probably very bare of pasturage. Falkner, 
the Jesuit missionary, says these parts were used by the 
Tehuelhet tribes for burying-places : we saw, however, no 
graves, nor any traces of bodies, excepting the jaw-bone above- 
mentioned; but subsequently, at Sea Bear Bay, we found 
many places on the summits of the hills which had evidently 
been used for such a purpose, although then containing no 
remains of bodies. This corresponds with Falkner's account, 
that after a period of twelve months the sepulchres ai-e formally 
visited by the tribe, when the bones of their relatives and friends 
are collected and carried to certain places, where the skeletons 
are arranged in order, and tricked out with all the finery and 
ornaments they can collect. 

The ships sailed from Port Santa Elena on the 5th Decem- 
ber, and proceeded to the southward, coasting the shore as far 
as Cape Two Bays. 

Our object being to proceed with all expedition to the Strait 
of Magalhaens, the examination of this part of the coast was 
reserved for a future opportunity. On the 13th, we had 
reached within fifty miles of Cape Virgins, the headland at 
the entrance of the strait, but it was directly in the wind's eye 

Dec. 1826. cape fairweather — chalk. 7 

of us. The wind veering to S.S.W., we made about a west 
course. At day-light the land was in sight, terminating in a 
point to the S.W., so exactly like the description of Cape 
Virgins and the view of it in Anson''s voyage, that without 
considering our place on the chart, or calculating the previous 
twenty-four hours'" run, it was taken for the Cape itself, and, 
no one suspecting a mistake, thought of verifying the ship''s 
position. The point, however, proved to be Cape Fairweather. 
It was not a little singular, that the same mistake should have 
been made on board the Beagle, where the error was not dis- 
covered for three days.* 

From the appearance of the weather I was anxious to 
approach the land in order to anchor, as there seemed to be 
every likelihood of a gale; and we were not deceived, for at 
three o'clock, being within seven miles of the Cape, a strong 
wind sprung up from the S. W., and the anchor was dropped. 
Towards evening it blew so hard, that both ships dragged 
their anchors for a considerable distance. 

On the charts of this part of the coast the shore is described 
to be formed of " chalk hills, like the coast of Kent." To 
geologists, therefore, especially, as they were not disposed to 
believe that such was the fact, this was a question of some 
interest. From our anchorage the appearance of the land 
favoured our belief of the existence of chalk. The outline was 
very level and steep ; precipitous cliffs of whitish colour, strati- 
fied horizontally, with their upper part occasionally worn into 
hollows, strongly resembled the chalk cliffs of the English 

The gale prevented our landing for three days, when (19th) 
a few minutes sufficed to discover that the cliffs were composed 

• A similar error was made by one of the ships of the fleet under 
Loyasa in the year 1525. The Nodales also, in their description of the 
coast, mention the similarity of appearance in the two capes, Virgins and 
Fairweather. " Y venido de mar en fuera a buscar la tierra facilmente 
podian hacer de Rio de Gallegos el Cabo de Virgenes," (and in making 
the land Cape Virgins may easily be mistaken for the river Gallegos). 
— Viage de los Nodales, p, 53. 

8 CLIFFS — FISH. Dec. 1826. 

of soft clay, varying in colour and consistence, and disposed in 
strata running horizontally for many miles without interrup- 
tion, excepting where water-courses had worn them away. 
Some of the strata were very fine clay, unmixed with any 
other substance, whilst others were plentifully strewed with 
round siliceous gravel,* without any vestige of organic remains. 
The sea beach, from high-water mark to the base of the cliiFs, 
is formed by shingle, with scattered masses of indurated clay of 
a green colour.-f- Between the high and low tide marks there is 
a smooth beach of the same green clay as the masses above-men- 
tioned, which appears to have been hardened by the action of 
the surf to the consistence of stone. Generally this beach 
extends for about one hundred yards farther into the sea, and is 
succeeded by a soft green mud, over which the water gradually 
deepens. The outer edge of the clay forms a ledge, extending 
parallel with the coast, upon the whole length of which the sea 
breaks, and over it a boat can with difficulty pass at low water. 
The vory few shells we found were dead. Strewed about 
the beach were numbers of fish, some of which had been 
thrown on sliore by the last tide, and were scarcely stiff. 
They principally belonged to the genus Ophidium ; the 
largest that we saw measured four feet seven inches in length, 
and weighed twenty-four pounds. Many caught alongside 
the ship were, in truth, coarse and insipid ; yet our people, 
who fed heartily upon them, called them ling, and thought 
them palatable. The hook, however, furnished us with a 
very wholesome and well-flavoured species of cod (Gadrts). 
Attached to the first we found two parasitical animals ; one 
was a Cymothoa, the other a species of LerncBa, which had so 

• Some of the specimens of the clay strata consist, according to Dr. 
Fitton, who has kindly examined my collection, of a white marl not 
unlike certain varieties of the lower chalk ; and of a clay having many of 
the properties of fuller's earth. The pebbles on the beach consist of 
quartz, red jasper, hornstone, and flinty slate, but do not contain any 
stone resembling chalk flint. 

t Dr. Fitton considers these masses of clay to bear a resemblance to 
the upper green sand of England. 

Dec. 1826. kiver gallegos. 9 

securely attached itself vinder the skin, as not to be removed 
without cutting ofF a piece of the flesh with it. An undescribed 
species of Murcena was also taken. 

Whilst we were on shore, the Beagle moved eight or nine 
miles nearer to the Cape, where Captain Stokes landed to fix 
positions of remarkable land. One peaked hill, from the cir- 
cumstance of his seeing a large animal near it, he called Tiger 
Mount. Mr. Bowen shot a guanaco ; and being at a distance 
in shore, unable to procure assistance, he skinned and quar- 
tered it with his pocket-knife, and carried it upon his shoulders 
to the boat. 

Next morning the ships weighed, and proceeded towards Cape 

When a-breast of Cape Fairweather, the opening of the 
river Gallegos was very distinctly seen ; but the examination 
of it was deferred to a future opportunity. Passing onward, 
the water shoaled to four fathoms, until we had passed exten- 
sive banks, which front the river. 

Our approach to the entrance of the Strait, although at- 
tended with anxiety, caused sensations of interest and pleasure 
not easily to be described. Though dangers were experienced 
by some navigators who had passed it, the comparative facility 
with which others had effected the passage showed that, at 
times, the difficulties were easily surmounted, and we were 
willing to suppose that in the former case there might have 
been some little exaggeration. 

The most complete, and, probably, the only good account of 
the navigation of the Strait of Magalhaens is contained in the 
narrative of Don Antonio de Cordova, who commanded the 
Spanish frigate Santa Maria de la Cabeza, on a voyage ex- 
pressly for the purpose of exploring the strait. It was pub- 
lished under the title of ' Ultimo Viage al Estrecho de Majral- 
lanes.' That voyage was, however, concluded with only the 
examination of the eastern part, and a subsequent expedition 
was made, under the command of the same officer, the account 
of which was appended to the Cabeza's voyage ; so that Cor- 
dova's expedition still retained the appellation of ' Ultimo 


Viage, &c.' It is written in a plain and simple style, gives a 
most correct account of every thing seen, and should therefore 
be in the possession of every person who attempts the naviga- 
tion of the strait. 

Cordova's account of the climate is very uninviting. Speak- 
ing of the rigours of the summer months (January, February, 
and March), he says, " Seldom was the sky clear, and short 
were the intervals in which we experienced the sun's warmth : 
no day passed by without some rain having fallen, and the 
most usual state of the weather was that of constant rain."* 

The accounts of Wallis and Carteret are still more gloomy. 
The former concludes that part of his narrative with the 
following dismal and disheartening description : " Thus we 
quitted a dreary and inhospitable region, where we were in 
almost continual danger of shipwreck for near four months, 
having entered the strait on the 17th of December, and quitted 
it on the 11th of April 1767 : a region where, in the midst of 
summer, the weather was cold, gloomy, and tempestuous, 
where the prospects had more the appearance of a chaos than 
of nature ; and where for the most part the valleys were with- 
out herbage and the hills without wood." 

These records of Cordova and Wallis made me feel not a 
little apprehensive for the health of the crew, which could 
not be expected to escape uninjured through the rigours of 
such a climate. Nor were the narratives of Byron or Bougain- 
ville calculated to lessen my anxiety. In an account, however, 
of a voyage to the strait by M. A. Duclos Guyot, the follow- 
ing paragraph tended considerably to relieve my mind upon 
the subject : — "At length, on Saturday the 23d of March, we 
sailed out of that famous Strait, so much dreaded, after having 
experienced that there, as well as in other places, it was very 
fine, and very warm, and that for three-fourths of the time the 
sea was perfectly calm." 

In every view of the case, our proximity to the principal 
scene of action occasioned sensations of a peculiar nature, in 
which, however, those that were most agreeable and hopeful 
* Ultimo Viage al Estiecho de Magallanes, part ii. p. 298. 

Dec. 1826. of magalhaens. 11 

preponderated. The officers and crews of both ships were 
healthy, and elated with the prospect before them ; our vessels 
were in every respect strong and sea-worthy ; and we were 
possessed of every comfort and resource necessary for encoun- 
tering much greater difficulties than we had any reason to 

There has existed much difference of opinion as to the correct mode 
of spelling the name of the celebrated navigator who discovered this 
Strait. The French and English usually write it Magellan, and the 
Spaniards Magallanes ; but by the Portuguese (and he was a native of 
Portugal) it is universally written Magalhaens. Admiral Burnoy and 
Mr. Dalrymple spell it Magalhanes, M'hich mode I have elsewhere 
adopted, but I have since convinced myself of the propriety of following 
the Portuguese orthography for a name which, to this day, is very common 
both in Portugal and Brazil. 


Enter the Straits of Magalhaens (or Magellan), and anchor off Cape 
Possession — First Narrow — Gregory Bay — Patagonian Indians — 
Second Narrow — Elizabeth Island — Freshwater Bay — Fuegian 
Indians — Arrival at Port Famine. 

A coKTfiARY tide and light winds detained us at anchor 
near Cape Virgins until four o''clock in the afternoon, when, 
with the turn of the tide, a light air carried us past Dungeness 
Point, aptly named by Wallis from its resemblance to that in 
the English Channel. A great number of seals were huddled 
together upon the bank, above the wash of the tide, whilst 
others were sporting about in the surf. Cape Possession was 
in sight, and with the wind and tide in our favour we pro- 
ceeded until ten o'clock, when the anchor was dropped. At 
daylight we found ourselves six miles to the eastward of the 
cape. The anchor was then weighed, and was again dropped 
at three miles from the cape until the afternoon, when we 
made another attempt ; but lost ground, and anchored a third 
time. Before night a fourth attempt was made, but the tide 
prevented our making any advance, and we again anchored. 

Mount Aymond* and " his four sons," or (according to the 
old quaint nomenclature) the Asses' Ears, had been in sight all 
day, as well as a small hummock of land on the S.W. horizon, 
which afterwards proved to be the peaked hillock upon Cape 
Orange, at the south side of the entrance to the First Narrow. 

At this anchorage the tide fell thirty feet, but the strength 
of the current, compared with the rate at which we afterwards 
found it to run, was inconsiderable Here we first experienced 

A hill on the north shore of Possession Bay, having near it, to the 
westward, four rocky summits, which, from a particular point of view, bear 
a strong resemblance to the cropped ears of a horse or ass. These are 
described less briefly in the Sailing Directions. 

Dec. 1896. sea-weed or kelp, 13 

the peculiar tides of which former navigators have written. 
During the first half of the flood* or westward tide, the depth 
decreased, and then, after a short interval, increased until three 
hours after the stream of tide had begun to run to the eastward. 

The following morning (21st) we gained a little ground. 
Our glasses were directed to the shore in search of inhabitants^ 
for it was hereabouts that Byron, and Wallis, and some of the 
Spanish navigators held communication with the Patagonian 
Indians ; but we saw none. Masses of large sea-weed,-|- drift- 
ing with the tide, floated past the ship. A description of this 
remarkable plant, although it has often been given before, may 
not be irrelevant here. It is rooted upon rocks or stones at 
the bottom of the sea, and rises to the surface, even from great 
depths. We have found it firmly fixed to the ground more 
than twenty fathoms under water, yet trailing along the sur- 
face for forty or fifty feet. When firmly rooted it shows the 
set of the tide or current. It has also the advantage of indi- 
cating rocky ground : for wherever there are rocks under 
water, their situation is, as it were, buoyed by a mass of sea- 
weed I on the surface of the sea, of larger extent than that of 
the danger below. In many instances perhaps it causes un- 
necessary alarm, since it often grows in deep water ; but it 
should not be entered without its vicinity having been sovmded, 
especially if seen in masses, with the extremities of the stems 
trailing along the surface. If there be no tide, or if the wind 
and tide are the same way, the plant lies smoothly upon the 
water, but if the wind be against the tide, the leaves curl up 
and are visible at a distance, giving a rough, rippling appear- 
ance to the surface of the water. 

During the last two days the dredge had furnished us with 
a few specimens of Infundibulum of Sowerby {Patella 
trochi-formis, Lin.), and some dead shells {Murex Magellani- 
ciis) were brought up by the sounding-lead. 

We made another attempt next morning, but again lost 

* Flowing into the strait from the east towards the west. 

+ Fucus giganteus. 

X Usually called by seamen ' kelp.' 

14 FIRST NARROW. Dec. 1826. 

ground, and the anchor was dropped for the eighth time. The 
threatening appearances of tlie clouds, and a considerable fall 
of the barometer indicating bad weather, Captain Stokes 
agreed with me in thinking it advisable to await the spring- 
tides to pass the First Narrow : the ships were therefore made 
snug for the expected gale, which soon came on, and we 
remained several days wind-bound, with top-masts struck, in a 
rapid tide-way, whose stream sometimes ran seven knots. On 
the 28th, with some appearance of improving weather, we 
made an attempt to pass through the Narrow. The wind 
blowing strong, directly against us, and strengthening as we 
advanced, caused a hollow sea, that repeatedly broke over us. 
The tide set us through the Narrow very rapidly, but the gale 
was so violent that we could not show more sail than was abso- 
lutely necessary to keep the ship under command. Wearing 
every ten minutes, as we approached either shore, lost us a 
great deal of ground, and as the anchorage we left was at a 
considerable distance from the entrance of the Narrows, the 
tide was not sufficient to carry us through. At slack water 
the wind fell, and as the weather became fine, I was induced to 
search for anchorage near the south shore. The sight of kelp, 
however, fringing the coast, warned me off, and we were obliged 
to return to an anchorage in Possession Bay. The Beagle hald 
already anchored in a very favourable berth ; but the tide was 
too strong to permit us to reach the place she occupied, and 
our anchor was dropped a mile astern of her, in nineteen 
fathoms. The tide was then running five, and soon afterwards 
six miles an hour. Had the western tide set with equal 
strength, we should have succeeded in passing the Narrow. 
Our failure, however, answered the good purpose of making us 
more acquainted with the extent of a bank that lines the 
northern side of Possession Bay, and with the time of the turn 
of tide in the Narrow ; which on this day (new moon) took 
place within a few minutes of noon. 

As we passed Cape Orange, some Indians were observed 
lighting a fire under the lee of the hill to attract our notice ; 
but we were too busily engaged to pay much attention to 

Dec. 1826. fall and strength of tide. 15 

their movements. Guanacoes also were seen feeding near 
the beach, which was the first intimation we had of the 
existence of that animal southward of the Strait of Magal- 

When day broke (29th) it was discovered that the ship had 
drifted considerably during the night. The anchor Avas 
weiglied, and with a favourable tide we reached an anchorage 
a mile in advance of the Beagle. We had shoaled rather 
saddenly to eight fathoms, upon which the anchor was imme- 
diately dropped, and on veering cable the depth was eleven 
fathoms. We had anchored on the edge of a bank, which 
soon afterwards, by the tide falling, was left dry within 
one hundred yards of the ship. Finding ourselves so near a 
shoal, preparations were made to prevent the ship from toucli- 
ing it. An anchor was dropped under foot, and others were 
got ready to lay out, for the depth alongside had decreased 
from eleven to seven fathoms, and was still falling. For- 
tunately we had brought up to leeward of the bank, and suf- 
fered no inconvenience; the flood made, and as soon as possible 
the ship was shifted to another position, about half a mile to 
the S. E., in a situation very favourable for our next attempt 
to pass the Narrow. This night the tide fell thirty-six feet, 
and the stream ran six knots. 

The ensuing morning we made another attempt to get through 
the Narrow, and, from having anchored so close to its entrance, 
by which the full benefit of the strength, as well as the whole 
duration of the tide was obtained, we succeeded in clearing it 
in two hours, although the distance was more than twenty 
miles, and the wind directly against us, the sea, as before, 
breaking repeatedly over the ship. 

After emerging from the Narrow we had to pass through a 
heavy ' race' before we ' reached' out of the influence of the 
stream that runs between the First and Second Narrow, but 
the tide lasted long enough to carry us to a quiet anchorage. 
In the evening we weighed again, and reached Gregory Bay, 
where the Beagle joined us the next morning. 

Since entering tlie Strait, we had not had any communication 


with the Beagle on account of the weather, and the strength of 
the tide ; this opportunity was therefore taken to supply her 
with water, of which she had only enough left for two days. 

The greater part of this day was spent on shore, examining 
the country and making observations. Large smokes* were 
noticed to the westward. The shore was strewed with traces 
of men and horses, and other animals. Foxes and ostriches 
were seen ; and bones of guanacoes were lying about the 

The country in the vicinity of this anchorage seemed open, 
low, and covered with good pasturage. It extends five or six 
miles, with a gradual ascent, to the base of a range of flat- 
topped land, whose summit is about fifteen hundred feet above 
the level of the sea. Not a tree was seen ; a few bushesf 
alone interrupted the uniformity of the view. The grass ap- 
peared to have been cropped by horses or guanacoes, and was 
much interspersed with cranberry plants, bearing a ripe and 
juicy, though very insipid fruit. 

Next day the wind was too strong and adverse to permit us 
to proceed. In the early part of the morning an American 
sealing vessel, returning from the Madre de Dios Archipelago 
on her way to the Falkland Islands, anchored near us. Mr. 
Cutler, her master, came on board the Adventure, passed the 
day and night with us, and gave me much useful information 
respecting the nature of the navigation, and anchorages in the 
Strait. He told me there was an Englishman in his vessel who 
was a pilot for the strait, and willing to join the ship. I gladly 
accepted the offer of his services. 

In the evening an Indian was observed on horseback riding 
to and fro upon the beach, but the weather prevented my send- 
ing a boat until the next morning, when Lieutenant Cooke 
went on shore to communicate with him and other Indians who 
appeared, soon after dawn, upon the beach. On landing, he 
was received by them without the least distrust. They were 
eight or ten in number, consisting of an old man and his 
wife, three young men, and the rest children, all mounted on 
» Columns of smoke rising from large fires. f Berberis, 

Jan. 1827. patagonian Indians. 17 

good horses. The woman, who appeared to be about fifty 
years of age, was seated astride upon a pile of skins, hung 
round with joints of fresh guanaco meat and dried horse-flesh. 
They were all wrapped in mantles, made chiefly of the skins 
of guanacoes, sewed together with the sinews of the same 
animal. These mantles were large enough to cover the whole 
body. Some were made of skins of the ' zorillo,' or skunk, an 
animal like a pole-cat, but ten times more offensive ; and others, 
of skins of the puma. 

The tallest of the Indians, excepting the old man, who did 
not dismount, was rather less than six feet in height. All 
were robust in appearance, and with respect to the head, length 
of body, and breadth of shoulders, of gigantic size ; therefore, 
when on horseback, or seated in a boat, they appeared to be 
tall, as well as large men. In proportion to the parts above- 
mentioned, their extremities were very small and short, so that 
when standing they seemed but of a moderate size, and their 
want of proportion was concealed by the mantle, which enve- 
loped the body entirely, the head and feet being the only parts 

When Mr. Cooke landed, he presented some medals * to 
the oldest man, and the woman ; and suspended them round 
their necks. A friendly feeling being established, the natives 
dismounted, and even permitted our men to ride their horses, 
without evincing the least displeasure, at the free advantage 
taken of their good-nature. Mr. Cooke rode to the heights, 
whence he had a distinct view of the Second Narrow, and 
Elizabeth Island, whither, he explained to the Indians who 
accompanied him, we were going. 

Mr. Cooke returned to the ship with three natives, whom 
he had induced to go with us to Elizabeth Island ; the others 
were to meet them, and provide us with guanaco meat, 
to which arrangement the elders of the family had, after 

• Previous to the expedition quitting; England, I bad provided myself 
with medals, to give away to the Indians witli whom we might commu- 
nicate, bearing on one side the figure of Britannia, and on the reverse 
•• George 1V^" "Adventure and Beagle," and " 1826." 

VOL. I. C 

18 - PATAGONiAN INDIANS. Jan. 1827- 

much persuasion, assented. At first they objected to their 
companions embarking with us, unless we left hostages for their 
safety ; but as this was refused, they did not press the point, 
and the three young men embarked. 1 hey went on board 
singing ; in high glee. 

While the ship was getting under way, I went ashore to a 
larger number of Indians who were waiting on the beach. 
When my boat landed they were mounted, and collected in one 
place. I was surprised to hear the woman accost me in Spa- 
nish, of which, however, she knew but a few words. Having 
presented medals to each of the party, they dismounted (except- 
ing the elders), and in a few minutes became quite familiar. 
By this time Captain Stokes had landed, with several of his 
officers, who increased our party to nearly double the number 
of theirs : notwithstanding which they evinced neither fear nor 
uneasiness. The woman, whose name was Maria, wished to be 
very communicative ; she told me that the man was her hus- 
band, and that she had five children. One of the young men, 
whom we afterwards found to be a son of Maria, who was a 
principal person of the tribe, was mounted upon a very fine 
horse, well groomed, and equipped with a bridle and saddle that 
would have done credit to a respectable horseman of Buenos 
Ayres or Monte Video. The young man wore lieavy brass 
spurs, like those of the Guachos of Buenos Ayres. The juvenile 
and feminine appearance of this youth made us think he was 
Maria's daughter, nor was it until a subsequent visit that our 
mistake was discovered. The absence of whiskers and beard 
gives all the younger men a very effeminate look, and many can- 
not be distinguished, in appearance, from the women, but by 
the mode in which they wrap their mantles around them, and by 
their hair, which is turned up and confined by a fillet of 
worsted yarn. The women cross their mantle over the breast like 
a shawl, and fasten it together with two iron pins or skewers, 
round which are twisted strings of beads and other ornaments. 
They also wear their hair divided, and gathered into long- 
tresses or tails, which hang one before each ear ; and those who 
have short hair, wear false tails made of horse-hair. Under 

Jan. 1827. patagonian Indians. 19 

their mantle the women wear a sort of petticoat, and the men a 
triangular piece of hide instead of breeches. Both sexes sit 
astride, but the women upon a heap of skins and mantles, when 
riding. The saddles and stirrups used by the men are similar to 
those of Buenos Ayres. The bits, also, are generally of steel ; 
but those who cannot procure steel bits have a sort of snaffle, 
of wood, which must, of course, be frequently renewed. Both 
sexes wear boots, made of the skins of horses'' hind legs, of 
which the parts about the hock joints serve for the heels. For 
spui's, they use pieces of wood, pointed with iron, projecting 
backwards two or three inches on each side of the heel, con- 
nected beliind by a broad strap of hide, and fastened under the 
foot and over the instep by another strap. 

The only weapons which we observed with these people 
were the ' bolas,' or balls, precisely similar to those used by 
the Pampas Indians; but they are fitter for hunting than for 
offence or defence. Some are furnished with three balls, but 
in general there are only two. These balls are made of small 
bags or purses of hide, moistened, filled with iron pyrites, or 
some other heavy substance, and then dried. They are about 
the size of a hen's egg, and attached to the extremities of a 
thong, three or four yards in length. To use them, one ball is 
held in the hand, and the other swung several times around 
the head until both are thrown at the object, which they rarely 
miss. They wind round it violently, and if it be an animal, 
throw it down. The bolas, with three balls, similarly connected 
together, are thrown in the same manner. 

As more time could not be spared we went on board, re- 
minding the natives, on leaving them, of their promise to bring 
us some guanaco meat. Aided by the tide, the ships worked 
to windward through the Second Narrow, and reached an 
anchorage out of the strength of tide, but in an exposed 
situation. The wind having been very strong and against the 
tide, the ship had much motion, which made our Patagonian 
passengers very sick, and heartily sorry for trusting themselves 
afloat. One of them, with tears in his eyes, begged to be 
landed, but was soon convinced of the difficulty of compliance, 

20 SECOND XARROiv. Jan. 1897. 

and satisfied with our promise of sending him ashore on the 

After we anchored, the wind increased to a gale, in which 
the ship pitched so violently as to injure our windlass. Its con- 
struction was bad originally, and the violent jerks received in 
Possession Bay had done it much damage. While veering 
cable, the support at one end gave way, and the axle of the 
barrel was forced out of the socket, by which some of the ]:>awls 
'were injui-ed. Fortunately, dangerous consequences were pre- 
vented, and a temporary repair was soon applied. 

The Beagle, by her better sailing, had reached a more 
advanced situation, close to the N.E. end of Elizabeth Island, 
but had anchored disadvantageously in deep water, and in 
the strenoth of the tide. Next morning we made an attempt 
to pass round Elizabeth Island, but found the breeze so 
strong that we were forced to return, and were fortunate 
enouffh to find good anchorage northward of the island, out 
of the tide. 

The Patagonians, during the day, showed much uneasiness 
at being kept on board so much longer than they expected; 
but as they seemed to understand the cause of their detention, 
and as their sickness ceased when we reached smooth water, 
they gradually recovered their good-humour, and became 
very communicative. As well as we could understand their 
pronunciation, their names were 'Coigh,' 'Coichi,'' and 'Aighen.'' 
The country behind Cape Negro they called ' Chilpeyo ;' the 
land of Tierra del Fuego, 'Oscherri ;' Ehzabeth Island, ' Tur- 
retterr ;' the island of Santa IMagdalena, ' Shree-ket-tup ;' and 
Cape Negro, ' Oerkreckur.' The Indians of Tierra del Fuego, 
with whom they are not on friendly terms, are designated by 
them ' Sapallios.' This name was applied to them in a con- 
temptuous tone. 

Aighen's features were remarkably different from those of 
his companions. Instead of a flat nose, his was aquiline and 
prominent, and his countenance was fvill of expression. He 
j-)roved to be good-tempered, and easily pleased ; and whenever 
a shade of melancholy began to appear, our assurance of 

Jan. 1827. dimensions or a native. 21 

landing him on the morrow restored his good-hmnour, which 
was shown by singing and laughing. 

The dimensions of Coichi"'s head were as follows : — 

From the top of the fore part of the head to the eyes 4 inches. 

Do do to the tip of the nose 6 

Do do to the mouth 7 

Do .... do to tlie chin 9 

Width of the liead across the temples 7i 

Breadth of the shoulders I8j 

The liead was long and flat, at tlie top ; the forehead broad 
and high, but covered with hair to within an inch and a half 
of the eyebrow, which had scarcely any hair. The eyes were 
small, the nose was short, the mouth wide, and the lips thick. 
Neck short, and shoulders very broad. The arms were short, 
and wanting in muscle, as were also the thighs and legs. 
The body was long and large, and the breast broad and 
expanded. His height was nearly six feet. 

The next day we rounded Elizabeth Island, and reached 
Cape Negro, where we landed the Indians, after making them 
several useful presents, and sending some trifles by Aighen 
to Maria, who, with her tribe, had lighted large fires about 
the country behind Peckett's Harbour, to invite us to land. 
Our passengers frequently pointed to them, telling us that they 
were made by Maria, who had brought plenty of guanaco 
meat for us. 

Our anxiety to reach Port Famine prevented delay, and, as 
soon as the boat returned, we proceeded along the coast 
towards Freshwater Bay, which we reached early enough in 
the afternoon to admit of a short visit to the shore. 

From Cape Negro the country assumed a very different 
character. Instead of a low coast and open treeless shore, we 
saw steep hills, covered with lofty trees, and thick underwood. 
The distant mountains of Tierra del Fuego, covered with 
snow, were visible to the sovithward, some at a distance of sixty 
or seventy miles. 

We had now passed all the difficulties of the entrance, and 
had reached a quiet and secure anchorage. 



The following day was calm, and so warm, that we thought 
if Wallis and Cordova were correct in describing the weather 
they met with, Duclos Guyot was equally entitled to credit ; 
and we began to hope we had anticipated worse weather 
than we should experience. But this was an unusually fine 
day, and m.any weeks elapsed, afterwards, without its equal. 
The temperature of the air, in the shade on the beach, was 
674°, on the sand 87^° ; and that of the water 55'. Other 
observations were made, as well as a plan of the bay, of which 
there is a description in the Sailing Directions. 

Here we first noticed the character of the vegetation in the 
Strait, as so different from that of Cape Gregory and other 
parts of the Patagonian coast, which is mainly attributable to 
the change of soil ; the northern part being a very poor clay, 
whilst here a schistose sub-soil is covered by a mixture of 
alluvium, deposited by mountain streams ; and decomjxtsed 
vegetable matter, which, from the thickness of the forests, is 
in great quantity. 

Two specimens of beech {Fagus betuloides and antarctica), 
the former an evergreen, — and the winter's bark {Wintera 
aromatica), are the only trees of large size that we found 
here ; but the underwood is very thick, and composed of a 
great variety of plants, of which Arbutus rigida, two or three 
species of Berberis, and a wild currant (Ribes antarctica^ 
Bankes and Solander MSS.), at this time in flower, and 
forming long clustering bunches of young fruit, were the 
most remarkable. The berberis produces a berry of acidulous 
taste, that promised to be useful to us. A species of wild 
celery, also, which grows abundantly near the sea-shore, was 
valuable as an antiscorbutic. The trees in the immediate 
vicinity of the shore are small, but the beach was strewed with 
trunks of large trees, which seemed to have been drifted there 
by gales and high tides. A river falls into the bay, by a very 
narrow channel, near its south end ; but it is small, and so 
blocked up by trees as not to be navigable even for the smallest 
boat : indeed, it is merely a mountain torrent, varying in size 
according to the state of the weather. 

Jan. 1827. fuegian Indians. 23 

Tracks of foxes were numerous about the b?ach, and the 
footsteps of a large quadruped, probably a puma, were observed. 
Some teal and wild ducks were shot ; and several geese were 
seen, but, being very wary, they escaped. 

Ujjon Point St. Mary we noticed, for the first time, three 
or four huts or wigwams made by the Fuegian Indians, which 
had been deserted. They were not old, and merely required 
a slioht covering of branches or skins to make them habit- 
able. These wi<rwams ai^e thus constucted : long slender 
branches, }X)inted at the end, are stuck into the ground in a 
circular or oval figure ; their extremities are bent over, so as 
to form a rounded roof, and secured with ligatures of rush ; 
leaving two apertures, one towards the sea, and the other 
towards the woods. The fire is made in the middle, and 
half fills the hut with smoke. There were no Indians in 
the bay when we arrived, but, on the following evening, 
Lieutenant ShoU, in walking towards the south end of the 
bay, suddenly found himself close to a party which had just 
arrived in two canoes from the southward. Approaching 
them, he found there were nine individuals — three men, and 
the remainder women and children. One of the women was 
very old, and so infirm as to require to be lifted out of the canoe 
and carried to the fire. They seemed to have no weapons 
of any consequence ; but, from our subsequent knowledge of 
their habits, and disposition, the probability is they had 
spears, bows, and arrows concealed close at hand. The only 
implement found amongst them was a sort of hatchet or knife, 
made of a crooked piece of wood, with part of an iron hoop 
tied to the end. The men were very slightly clothed, having 
only the back protected by a seal's skin ; but the females wore 
large guanaco mantles, like those of the Patagonian Indians, 
whom our pilot told us they occasionally met for the purpose 
of barter. Some of the party were devouring seal's flesh, and 
drinking the oil extracted from its blubber, which they carried 
in bladders. The meat they were eating was probably part 
of a sea lion (Pkoca juhata) ; for Mr. Sholl found amongst 
them a portion of the neck of one of thobe animals, which is 

24 FUEGIAN INDI.ANS. Jail. 1827. 

remarkable for the long hair, " like a lion's mane,"" grow- 
ing upon it. They appeared to be a most miserable, squalid 
race, very inferior, in every respect, to the Patagonians. They 
did not evince the least uneasiness at ]\Ir. SholFs presence, 
or at our ships being close to them ; neither did they interfere 
with him, but remained squatting round their fire while he 
staid near. This seeming indifference, and total want of 
curiosity, gave us no favourable opinion of their character 
as intellectual beings ; indeed, they appeared to be very little 
removed from brutes ; but our subsequent knowledge of them 
has convinced us that they are not usually deficient in intellect. 
This party was perhaps stupified by the unusual size of our 
ships, for the vessels which frequent this Strait are seldom one 
hundred tons in burthen. 

We proceeded next morning at an early hour. The Indians 
were already paddling across the bay in a northerly direction. 
Upon coming abreast of them, a thick smoke was perceived 
to rise suddenly from their canoes ; they had probably fed the 
fire, which they always carry in the middle of their canoe, 
with green boughs and leaves, for the purpose of attracting 
our attention, and inviting us to communicate with them. 

It was remarked that the country begins to be covered 
with trees at Cape Negro ; but they are stunted, compared 
with those at Freshwater Bay. Near this place, also, the coun- 
try assumes a more verdant aspect, becoming also higher, 
and more varied in appearance. In the neighbourhood of 
Rocky Point some conspicuous portions of land were noticed, 
which, fi-om the regularity of their shape, and the quantity as 
well as size of the trees growing at the edges, bore the 
appearance of having been once cleared ground ; and our pilot 
Robinson (possessing a most inventive imagination) informed 
us that they were fields, formerly cleared and cultivated by the 
Spaniards, and that ruins of buildings had been lately dis- 
covered near them. For some time his story obtained credit, 
but it proved to be altogether void of foundation. These ap- 
parently cleared tracts were afterwards found to be occasioned 
hy unusual poverty of soil, and by being oveiTun with thick 

Jan. 1827. arrive at port famijte. 25 

spongy moss, the vivid green colour of which produces, from 
a distance, an appearance of most luxuriant pasture land. Sir 
Jolin Narborough noticed, and thus describes them : " The 
wood shows in many places as if there were plantations : for 
there were several clear places in the woods, and grass growing 
like fenced fields in England, the woods being so even by the 
sides of it."* 

The wind, after leaving Freshwater Bay, increased, with 
strong squalls from the S.W., at times blowing so hard as to 
lay the ship almost on her broadside. It was, however, so much 
in our favour, that we reached the entrance of Port Famine 
early, and after some little detention from baffling winds, which 
always render the approach to that bay somewhat difficult, the 
ships anchored in the harbour. 

* Narborough, p. 67. 


Prepare the Beagle, and our decked boat (the Hope) for survejinj^ the 
Strait — Beaf^le sails westward, and the Hope towards the south-east — 
Sanniento's voyage — and description of the colony formed by him at 
Port Famine — Steamer-duck — Large trees — Parroquets — Mount Tarn 
— Barometrical observations — Geological character — Report of the 
Hope's cruize. 

In almost every account published of the Strait of Magal- 
haens, so much notice has been taken of Port Famine, that I 
had long considered it a suitable place for our purposes ; and 
upon examination I found it offered so many advantages, that 
I did not hesitate to make it our head-quarters. As soon, there- 
fore, as the ship was moored, tents were pitched, our decked- 
boat was hoisted out and hauled on shore, to be coppered 
and equipped for the survey ; — and Captain Stokes received 
orders to prepare the Beagle for examining the western part 
of the Strait ; previous to ^hich she required to be partially 
refitted, and supplied witli fuel and water. 

For several days after our arrival, we had much rain and 
strong south-westerly wind, with thick clouds, wliich con- 
cealed the higli land to the southward ; allowing us only now 
and then a partial glimpse. One evening (11th) the air was 
unusually clear, and many of the mountains in that direction 
were distinctly defined. We had assembled to take leave of our 
friends in the Beagle, and were watching the gradual appear- 
ance of snow-capped mountains which had previously been con- 
cealed, when, bursting upon our view, as if by magic, a 
lofty mountain appeared towering among them ; whose snowy 
mantle, strongly contrasted with the dark and threatening 
aspect of the sky, much enhanced the grandeur of the scene. 

This mountain was the " Snowy Volcano"" ij^olcan Nevada) 
of Sarmiento, with whose striking appearance that celebrated 
navigator seems to have been particularly impressed, so minute 

©DSTTAHTT "VDE^' ©ff M7 @.AK.I»Ja Q [^^fi^TTiS^ .- 

ft*liliahed by Henry Colb'jn C'reai Street. lfl-36 

I ' ---'A 

Jan. 1827. mount sakmiento. 27 

and excellent is his description. It is also mentioned in the 
account of Cordova's voyage.* The peculiar shape of its 
summit as seen from the north would suggest the probability 
of its being a volcano, but we never observed any indication of 
its activity. Its volcanic form is perhaps accidental, for, seen 
from the westward, its summit no longer resembles a crater. 
From the geological character of the surrounding rocks its for- 
mation would seem to be of slate. It is in a range of mountains 
rising generally two or three thousand feet above the sea; but 
at the N.E. end of the range are some, at least four thousand feet 
high. The height of the "Snowy Volcano," or as we have called 
it. Mount Sarmiento,-|- was found, by trigonometrical measure- 
ment, to be six thousand eight hundred feetj above the level 

• Ultimo Viape, p. 120. 

t Fioiu an attentive perusal of the voyage of Magalhaens, I have lately 
been led to tliink that this is the mountain which IMagalhaens called 
Roldan's Boll. Sarmicnto has, however, assigned that name to a moun- 
tain at the back of his Bay of Campana, which will be noticed in it's 
proper place. The name of Mount Sarmiento was too long, and too well 
established with us, or I should have restored the name bestowed upon it 
by Magalhaens. Herrera, in his Descripcion de las Indias Occidentales, 
cap.xxiii, notices the "Campana de Roldan" as a great mountain in 
the midst of the entrance of a channel ; they gave it this nam.e (Cam- 
pana de Roldan) because one of Magalhaens's companions, named Roldan, 
an artillery officer, went to examine it. " Y la Canjpana de Roldan una 
Pena grande en medio al principio de un canal : dieron le este nombre 
por(jue la fue a reconocer unodelos compaueros de Magallanes llamado 
Roldan que era artillero." 
I By angular measurement, with a theodolite, from the tent, 
the base being by diff. of lat. 297,863 feet, and allow- 
ing ^ of the intercepted arc for terrestrial refraction . . 6,864 feet. 
By angular measure with sextant (index error, dip, and ^'^ 
of the intercepted arc being allowed) the base being 

290,074feet 7,237 

By angular measurement, with a theodolite, from Warp 

Bay, by Lieuts. Skj'ring and Graves 6,800 

Mean 6,967 feet, 

but as the last observation, from the angle of elevation being greater, was 
more likely to be correct, 6,800 feet is considered to be its elevation. 

28 BEAGLE AND HOPE SAIL. Jan. 1827. 

of the sea. It is the highest land that I have seen in Tierra 
del Fuego ; and to us, indeed, it was an object of considerable 
interest, because its appearance and disappearance were seldom 
failing weather guides. In our Meteorological Diary, a colunni 
was ruled for the insertion of its appearances.* 

This clear state of the atmosphere was followed by a heavy 
fall of rain, with northerly and easterly winds, which did not, 
however, last long. 

In the vicinity of our tents erected on the low land, on the 
S. W. side of the bay, were several ponds of water, perfectly fit 
for immediate use ; but, perhaps, too much impregnated with 
vegetable matter to keep good for any length of time. Captain 
Stokes, therefore, filled his tanks from the river ; but as that 
water did not keep well, it was probably taken into the boat 
too near the sea. This, however, was unavoidable, except by 
risking the boats among a great number of sunken trees in the 
bed of the river. 

The Beagle sailed on the 15th, to survey the western 
entrance of the Strait, with orders to return to Port Famine 
by the end of March. 

Our decked boat, the Hope, being ready, the command of 
her was given to Mr. Wickham, who was in every way qua- 
lified for the trust. We were, however, much mortified by 
finding that she leaked so considerably as to oblige us to 
unload, and again haul her on shore. When ready for 
sea, she sailed under the direction of my assistant-surveyor, 
Mr. Graves, to examine the St. Sebastian channel and the 
deep opening to the S.E. of Cape Valentyn. Her crew con- 
sisted of seven men, besides Mr. Wickham, and Mr. Rowlett, 
the purser. 

Having despatched the Beagle and the Hope, I was at leisure 
to carry on the survey of the coast in the neighbourhood of 
Port Famine, and to make a plan of the port itself. The 

* At a subsequent visit, embracing' a period of 190 days, it was only 
seen ou twenty-five, and during seven days only was it constantly visible. 
On the remaijiing eighteen, portions only were seen, and those but for a 
few hours at a time. 


Transit, and Altitude circle, were set iij) ; but from the very 
unfavourable state of tlie weather, and the interference of other 
occupations, I was only enabled to procure a series of zenith 
distances of the sun, and stars, for the latitude. 

Port Famine, a name well known to all who have interested 
themselves about the Strait of Magalhaens, was selected by 
Sarmiento as the most convenient place for the site of an 
establishment formed, at his suggestion, by Philip II. King of 

The voyage of Sir Francis Drake through the Strait into 
the Pacific, and his successes against the Spanish colonies and 
trade on the western side of the continent of America, induced 
the Viceroy of Lima to send an Expedition to pursue the " Cor- 
sair," with orders to fight and take him, dead or alive.* This 
Expedition, commanded by Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, who 
had already been engaged twice with Drake, consisted of two 
ships, containing in all two hundred armed men, sailors and 
soldiers ; a force which was considered sufficient to ensure the 
capture. *!- 

The Strait of Magalhaens being the most likely place to 
meet with Drake, Sarmiento was ordered to proceed througli 
it, and take the opportunity of exploring its coasts. 

All this he performed in a manner highly creditable, as well 
for the excellent description handed down in his unpretending 
joui'nal, as for the enterprising zeal, and steady perseverance, 
shown among difficulties of no trifling nature. To his accounts 
of various places there will be frequent occasion to refer. Our 
object, at present, is to give a short account of the Colony. 

Sarmiento sailed from Peru (1583), and entered the Strait 
from the Pacific. After experiencing many serious difficulties, 
and escaping imminent dangers, in the western part of the 
Strait, where the climate is so rigorous and the country so deso- 
late, it was not surprising that he should become enraptured 
with the verdant, and picturesque appearance of the shores to 
the eastward of Cape Froward, and with the open country ia 

* Sarmiento'a Voyage, p. 25. f Id. I.e. 

30 SARMIEXTo\s COLONY. 1581. 

the neighbourhood, and to the northward of Cape Virgins.* 
After much opposition from theDukeof Alva-|- and other power- 
ful people, he succeeded in convincing the King of the expedi- 
ency of fortifying the shores of the First Narrow, and forming 
several establishments within the Strait, to prevent the passage 
of strange ships, to the prejudice of the King's colonies in Chile 
and Peru ; for at that time the passage round Cape Horn was 
not known. Accordingly, an Expedition was prepared, con- 
sisting of twenty- three vessels, under the joint command of 
Diego Florez de Valdez and Sarmiento ; the former being 
appointed Captain-general of the fleet, and of the coast of 
Brazil ; and the latter, Captain-general of the Strait of Magal- 
haens, and Governor of all the Establishments that should be 
formed within it. 

Of the twenty-three ships which sailed from Spain, five only 
reached the entrance of the Strait ; and these, after experienc- 
ing many difficulties from bad weather and foul winds, returned 
to Rio de Janeiro to refit, where Sarmiento met four vessels 
which had been sent from Spain to his succour. His colleague 
and General in chief, Florez, who had deserted the Expedition, 
did all in his power to impede Sarmiento, to the latest moment 
of his stay at the Brazils. At last, however, five ships, com- 
manded by Ribera, and manned by five hundred and thirty 
men,]: sailed ; and, without encountering further loss or deten- 
tion, arrived off" the Strait in December (1584), and soon 
after reached an anchorage, between the First and Second 

Ribera would go no further ; but landed about three hun- 
dred men, under Sarmiento. A city was marked out, and 
named Jesus,§ in a vaUey well provided with water. The 

• See Burney, ii. p. 45, for a fuller account ; also id. 71- 

t Who made a remark on the occasion, which became proverbial, 
*' that if a ship carried out only anchors and cables, sufi&cient for her 
security against the storms in that part of the world, she would go well 
laden." Burney Coll. vol. ii. 45. 

J Burney, ii. 51. 

§ The situation of "Jesus" must have been about half-way between 
the First and Second Narrow, near the point named in the chart N. S. de 



ships were blown away to sea, leaving the colonists very desti- 
tute ; fortunately, however, they were enabled to return, but 
were four times, afterwards, obliged to put to sea, from stress 
of weather. On the last return, one of the ships. La Trinidad, 
was run on shore. The ardour of Ribera being damped by 
repeated misfortunes, he returned to Spain, without the know- 
ledge or consent of Sarmiento, leaving, for the use of the colony, 
only one ship, the Maria. 

While unloading the Trinidad, the Spaniards were attacked 
by Indians, whom they dispersed. 

Sarmiento, after making the necessary arrangements at Jesus, 
set out by land with one hundred men, to go to Point St. 
Anna,* the ship Maria being ordered to follow. On the 
journey, the sufferings of the party were very great, as well 
from the fatiguing nature of the march, as from their being 
harassed by the natives, with whom they had an engagement, 
in which one was killed, and ten men were wounded. A 
mutiny among his people then broke out, which was quelled 
by assistance from the ship. At last they reached their desti- 
nation, and founded, with the usual solemnities, the city of King 
Philip (or San Felipe). 

At the latter end of March, while preparing habitations, the 
■winter set in so suddenly, that for fifteen days it did not cease 
to snow. Sarmiento, then, after quelling a mutiny which had 
broken out afresh among the soldiers, embarked with thirty 
men to visit the first encampment at Jesus, and to superintend 
the erection of forts in the Narrow ; but upon reaching the 
anchorage, a gale of wind forced him to sea, and, lasting twenty 
days, obliged him (with his people blinded and frost-bitten) 
to bear up for Rio de Janeiro. 

Here his ship was stranded; upon which he chartered a 
vessel to convey flour to the Strait, and went himself to Per- 
nambuco, to procure large boats for carrying supplies to his 

Valle, where some peaked elevations, dividing vallies near the coast line, 
are conspicuous. The Beagle anchored there, and found plenty of fresh 

* Close to Port Famine. 

32 SAItMIENTo''s COLONY, 1585. 

colony, and assisting in the recovery of his stranded ship ; she 
had, however, drifted off, and sunk near Baliia ; and all his 
boats were destroyed. Still Sanniento persevered in his zealous 
eiforts to succour his friends in the Strait ; and succeeded in 
procuring a vessel of fifty or sixty tons, which, loaded with arms 
and whatever he considered useful, sailed, and reached Rio de 
Janeiro a month after the departure of the first vessel (January 
1585). He followed, but in the latitude of S9° met Avith a 
furious gale, which drove him back to Rio de Janeiro, where 
the vessel that had preceded him had returned in distress. 

Disappointed in his attempts to carry succour to the colony, 
he determined to go to Spain ; but on his voyage thither, to 
complete the catalogue of his misfortunes, his ship was captured 
by three Enghsh vessels, and taken to England, after which 
the ill-fated colony in the Strait was neglected, if not entirely- 

Two months after Sarmiento's departure from the Sti'ait of 
Magalhaens, in the month of August, the middle of the winter 
of that region, the party belonging to the first establishment at 
Jesus set off by land, and joined that at San Felipe, with the 
unwelcome tidings of their deserted state. But as the provi- 
sions at San Felipe were insufficient to support all the people, 
Andres de Viedma, who, after Sarraiento's departure, had 
assumed the command, detached two hundred soldiers, under 
the command of Juan Iniguez, back to Jesus, for the purpose 
of communicating with any ship that might make her appear- 
ance, and awaiting the expected return of Sarmiento ; but the 
winter and following summer passed by without any relief. 

In this unhappy state, the colonists were obliged to think 
only of provichng for their safety, and built two boats ; in 
which fifty people embarked, besides Viedma, Suarez, a 
Franciscan friar named Antonio, and five Spanish women. 
They had not proceeded farther than Point Santa Brigida,* 

• From Sarmiento's description of the coast, Point Santa Brigida is 
the outward point of Nassau Island. (a) See Sarmiento's Voyage, p. 220. 

(rt) By Nassau Island is meant the land forming the south shore of the 
Second Narrow. — R. F. 


when one of the boats struck upon a reef, and was lost, but 
the people were saved. The loss of this boat caused them to 
give up every hope of saving themselves in that way ; and 
Viedma, with Suarez, the friar, and twenty soldiers, returned 
in the remaining boat to San Felipe, leaving the rest of the 
party, consisting of thirty men and five women, to support 
themselves through the approaching winter as they could. After 
that season had passed, Viedma sent to collect the wanderers ; 
but fifteen men, and three women only, could be found ; the 
rest having died of hunger and disease. The survivors then 
determined upon going to the first establishment at Jesus ; 
on their way to which they passed by the skeletons of the two 
hundred who had been first detached. Travelling onwards, 
they observed three ships entering the strait, which anchored 
at a distance to the southward. 

During the night, Viedma and his companions kept up 
large fires, supposing that the ships belonged to their own 
nation. Next morning a boat was despatched from them ; 
and three of Viedma's party obtained permission to go and 
reconnoitre her. Having approached near enough, a signal 
was made ; upon which, the people in the boat pulled to- 
wards the beach, and said they were from England, bound 
to Peru, and that if the Spaniards wanted a passage, they had 
better embark. After some hesitation, arising from the fear 
of trusting themselves in the power of heretics, they consented ; 
and one was permitted to get in, but the other two were 
left on the beach. In the boat was the enterprizing Cavendish* 
himself, who, on hearing the particulars of their story, sent 
the other two soldiers to Viedma, offering to take him and the 
residue of his people on board. Cavendish returned to his ship; 
but, without further delay, sailed on to the Isla dos Patos 
(Santa Magdalena Island), where he leisurely salted down six 
casks of penguins ; and then proceeded to San Felipe, for wood 
and water ; he remained there four days (during v.'hich time he 
destroyed the houses of the Spaniards, and embai'ked six 
guns) ; and thence continued his voyage. The person saved 
• Formerly spelled ' Candisli.' 

vol. I. D 


by Cavendish, whose name was Tome Hernandez, afterwards 
escaped from him at Quintero, near Valparaiso ; and, proceed- 
ing to Peru, gave an account of the fate of this cruelly neglected 

This was the first, and perhaps will be the last, attempt 
made to occupy a country, offering no encouragement for 
a human being ; a region, where the soil is swampy, cold, 
and unfit for cultivation, and whose climate is thoroughly 

The name, San Felipe, ceased with the colony ; for Caven- 
dish called it Port Famine, in allusion to the fate of the colo- 
nists, all of whom, except the man he took away, and one saved 
two years afterwards (in 1589), by Andrew Mericke,* perished 
from hunger and its attendant diseases; and by this appellation 
the bay has since been universally known. To commemorate 
the ill-fated town, a very thickly-wooded mountain at the bot- 
tom of ths bay, which forms a conspicuous and picturesque 
object, has been named by us Mount San Fehpe. 

At this port, Sarmiento, on his first voyage through the 
Strait, communicated with a large party of Indians, in con- 
sequence of which he called it Bahia de la Gente ; and the 
river, which now bears the name of Sedger, he named San 
Juan. Of this river Sarmiento took formal possession, as well 
as of the whole Strait, for the ' Mui Poderoso y mui Catolico 
Senor Phelipe Segundo,' &c. &c. It was also here that, in con- 
sequence of the mii-aculous preservation of his vessel on many 

• " Near to Port Famine they took on board a Spaniard, who was 
the only one then remaining alive of the garrison left in the Strait by 
Sarmiento. The account given by this man, as reported by Magoths, is, 
that he had lived in those parts six years, and was one of the four hun- 
dred men sent thither by the King of Spain in the year 1582, to fortify 
and inhabit there, to hinder the passage of all strangers that way into the 
South Sea. But that town (San Felipe) and the other Spanish colony 
being destroyed by famine, he said he had lived in a house, by himself, a 
long time, and relieved himself with his caliver(i) until our coming thi- 
ther." Burnev, ii. p. DC. This man died on the voyage to Europe 
Id. p. 97. " 

(b) A kind of gun — R. F. 

Feb. 1827. STEAMER-DUCK. 35 

occasions, he attempted to change the name of the strait to 
Estrecho de la Madre de Dios ; but it had been too long called 
Magalhaens, for even the influence of Sarmiento, backed by 
the power of Philip, to persuade the world to countenance so 
great an injustice. 

" Magallanes, SeJior, fue el primer hombre 
Que abriendo este camino le di6 nombre." 

Ercilla Araiicana, Cant. T. oct. S. 

During an excursion with Mr. Tarn to Eagle Bay,* beyond 
Cape San Isidro, we found many wigwams. They were then 
novelties to us, and we were ignorant of their being such cer- 
tain indications of very sheltered places, as subsequent expe- 
rience has shown them to be. We often used them, after they 
had been well cleaned out : a boat's sail, thrown over the 
hemispherical roof, was a sufficient protection from rain; — and 
from wind they are always well defended by their situation. 
Here we saw, for the first time, that most remarkable bird the 
Steamer-duck. Before steam-boats were in general use, this 
bird was denominated, from its swiftness in skimming over the 
surface of the water, the ' race-horse,' a name which occurs 
frequently in Cook's, Byron's, and other voyages. It is a 
gigantic duck, the largest I have met with. It has the lobated 
hind- toe, legs placed far backwards, and other characteristics 
of the oceanic ducks.-f- The principal peculiarity of this bird 
is, the shortness and remarkably small size of the wings, 
which, not having sufficient power to raise the body, serve only 
to propel it along, rather than through the water, and are used 
like the paddles of a steam-vessel. Aided by these and its 
strong, broad-webbed feet, it moves with astonishing velocity. 

* So named by Bougainville. 

t It belongs to the group which M. Teraminck has lately named 
Hylohates, without attending to the name long since conferred upon it 
by Dr. Fleming. I designated it Oidemia Patachonica, from its large 
dimensions, in my communication upon the Ornithology of the Straits. 
Zoological Journal, vol. iv. p. 100. On my return to England, I found 
that M. de Freycinet had figured this bird, in the account of his last 
voyage in I'Uranie, where it is described by Messrs. Quoy and Gaimard 
under the name of Microj)terus brachypterus. 

D 2 

S6 STEAMER-DUCK. Feb. 1827. 

It would not be an exaggeration to state its speed at from twelve 
to fifteen miles an hour. The peculiar form of the wing, and 
the short rigid feathers which cover it, together with the power 
this bird possesses of remaining a considerable length of time 
under water, constitute it a striking link between the genera 
Anas and Aptenodytes. It has been noticed by many former 
navigators. The largest we found measured forty inches, 
from the extremity of the bill, to that of the tail, and weighed 
thirteen pounds ; but Captain Cook mentions, in his second 
voyage, that the weight of one was twenty-nine pounds.* It 
is very difficult to kill them, on account of their wariness and 
thick coat of feathers, which is impenetrable by any thing 
smaller than swan shot. The flavour of their flesh is so strong 
and fishy, that at first we killed them solely for specimens. 
Five or six months, however, on salt provisions, taught many 
to think such food palatable, and the seamen never lost an 
opportunity of eating them. I have preferred these ducks to 
salt-beef, but more as a preventive against scurvy, than from 
liking their taste. 

I am averse to altering names, particularly in natural his- 
tory, without very good reason, but in this case I do think the 
name of ' steamer' much more appropriate, and descriptive of 
the swift paddling motion of these birds, than that of ' race- 
horse.' I believe, too, the name of ' steamer' is now generally 
given to it by those who have visited these regions. 

Many shells-f were taken from the bottom by means of a fiz- 
gig which Mr. Tarn found in one of the wigwams : it was a 

* Cook's Second Voj'age, 4to. p. 570. 

+ On the shores of Eagle Bay we procured a larg-e collection of shells, 
among which were Margarita violacea (Nob. in Zool. Journ. v. 346, No. 
53), a beautiful Modiola (M. trapesina, Lam.*), a new Pecten (P. vitreus 
Nob. in Zool. Jour. V. 337, No. 17), and a delicate transparent-shelled 
Patella, answering the description of P. cymhularia. These four species 
were found attached to floating leaves of the kelp (Fuciis giganteus), 
and afford food to the steamer-duck. We also collected good specimens 
of Murex Magellanicus, Lam.'', of Fis.mrella picta. Lam.*, and a great 
number of the common patella of the Strait, which forms a considerable 
article of food for the Natives. 

Feb. 1827. SEDGER KIVEB. 37 

rough pole, eight or ten feet long, split crosswise at one end, 
and opened so as to form four prongs, kept apart by two small 
pieces of wood. Although rudely made, it was excellently 
ada})ted for a shell-gatherer, and is used by the Indians for 
collecting sea-eggs, which are found in the Strait of very large 
size, and are doubtless, to them, a great delicacy. 

During our excursion we ascertained the best place to ascend 
the snowy mountain, since named ' Tarn ;"" and the surgeon, 
whose name it bears, set ofr with a party of officers to make 
the attempt, in which he succeeded, and obtained such an 
extensive view as induced me to decide upon ascending it, a 
few days afterwards, to procure bearings from the svunmit, and 
for the purpose of measuring its height with a barometer. 

In the meantime I visited the Sedger river (Sarmiento's 
' Rio de San Juan de Posesion'), and found some difficulty in 
entering it, because of several banks which are dry at low 
water. Between them, however, the stream keeps a small chan- 
nel open, by which we effected our purpose. Every gale of 
wind causes the banks to shift, and between the times of our 
first, and last, visit to Port Famine, the river's mouth under- 
went many changes. The bed of the river is so full of fallen 
trees, that we could not go, with the boat, more than three 
miles and a half above the entrance ; there it was about fifteen 
yards wide, bounded on each side by thickly wooded banks, of 
moderate height. The trees on these banks are large, chiefly 
the two species of Beech before-mentioned, and Winter's-bark ; 
there are besides many shrubs, and an impenetrable underwood 
of Arbutus, Berberis, and currant bushes. The largest Beech- 
tree that we saw could not have been more than thirty or 
forty inches in diameter, which was insignificant compared with 
those noticed by Commodore Byron. In describing his excur- 
sion up this river, he mentions " trees that would supply the 
British navy with the best masts in the world."* " Some of 
them are of a great height, and more than eight feet in diame- 
ter, which is proportionably more than eight yards in circum- 

* Byron's Voyage round the World, 4to, p. 3S. • 

38 LARGE TREES WOOD. Feb. 1827. 

ference.""'* The Commodore may have been pleased by the 
ap})earance of these trees, but must have fancied their quality 
and dimensions such as he describes. The largest are generally 
rotten at the heart, and all are more or less defective. Their 
wood is heavy, and far too brittle for masts : we could not 
use it even for boat-hook staves. It makes, however, tolerable 
plank for boat-building, and, when seasoned, might be used in 
ships. For common purposes, such as houses, or fences, it is 
very serviceable. 

We wandered about to examine the country ; but, except- 
ing the track of some quadruped, whose foot was small and 
cloven, rather like a pig's, we saw nothing new. The traces 
of foxes were numerous every where. We found no fish of 
any description in the river. Geese and wild ducks were 
numerous, whose young were at this time scarcely fledged, and 
an easy prey. We also observed here, for the first time, the 
parroquet, which Bougainville described to be common in the 
Strait. He carried specimens home with him ; but some 
naturalists of those days decided that there must have been a 
mistake, because, as they averi*ed, parroquets did not exist in 
so high a latitude. Bougainville, however, made no mistake, 
for the species-j- is very abundant in the neighbourhood of Port 
Famine, and has been seen by us in all parts of the Strait. It 
feeds principally upon the seeds of the Winter's-bark. The 
existence of this bird in Tierra del Fuego is also mentioned by 
Cook and Narboroush.* 

* I. c. 

+ Fsittacus smarafjdiims, Gmel. I have no doubt that the bird we 
saw IS the same as Bouf,''airiville procured, and from which a description 
has been given in the Ency. IMeth., art. Ornith. 139; although a material 
error is made, for they are not splendidc viridis, nor is the iiropygium i-ed ; 
in other points, however, the description is correct. See Buffon's Hist. 
Nat. des Oiseaux, vi. 262. PI. enl. n. 85, Perruche des Terres Magel- 

Bougainville says, " we have likewise perceived some perrokeets : 
the latter are not afraid of the cold." To which the English translator, 
T. R. Forster, wlio is incredulous of the correctness of Bougainville's 
assertion, appends the following ntjte : " Perruches, probably sea-parrgts. 

Feb. 1837. PARROftUETS — FISH. * 39 

All accounts of Port Famine informed us of its abounding 
in fish, but as yet we bad taken none excepting with hook and 
line, although the seine had been frequently shot. At last, 
however, in the first week of February, we had a successful 
haul of mullet and smelts, many of the former weighing eight 
pounds, and the latter measuring fifteen inches in length. 
After this we were often very fortunate, and on one occasion 
caught, at one haul of the seine, sixteen hundred-weight of 
smelts, some weighing two pounds, and measuring twenty 
inches in length. A few days previously we had a draught of 
mullet, which served the crews of both Adventure and Beagle 
for three days. Geese, wild ducks and teal, snipe, and now 
and then woodcocks, were to be found by taking a short walk ; 
there were, however, no quadrupeds fit for food which we 
could take. Foxes and wild cats were occasionally seen, and a 
foot-mark of some large animal of the feline race, probably a 
puma, was once observed upon the beach. We found many 
traces of horses, which showed that the Patagonian Indians 
sometimes come thus far south. Had we been so fortunate as 
to meet them here, we might have procured, perhaps, a regular 
supply of guanaco meat. 

On the 9th of February, as the weather seemed favourable 
for ascending Mount Tarn,* Lieutenant Cooke, the Surgeon, 
and Anderson, the botanical collector, set oft' in advance to 
select a convenient place for passing the night, carrying with 
them a tent and provisions. I followed later in the day, and, 
while the boat's crew were arranging their loads, made some 
observations with a barometer on the beach. 

Our way led through thick underwood, and then, with a 
gradual ascent, among fallen trees, covered with so thick a 
coating of moss, that at every step we sunk up to the knees 

or auks." Buffon also doubted the fact, and the author of Histoire 
Naturelle, art. Oiseaux, torn. ii. p. 322, suggests the possibility of a 
specimen hav-ing been obtained in some other part of the world, and put, 
by mistake, amongst those collected in the Strait. 

• So named because Mr. Tarn, the sur<;eon of the Adventure, was the 
first person who reached its summit. 

40 MOUNT TARN. Feb. 1827. 

before firm footing could be found. It was very laborious work, 
and the ground being saturated, and each tree dripping with 
moisture, we were soon wet through. We proceeded along the 
same sort of road up a steep ascent ; some one of the party 
constantly falling into deep holes covered by moss, or stumbling 
over fallen trunks of trees. As I carried a barometer I was 
obliged to proceed with caution, and succeeded in emerging 
from this jungle without accident. After about three quarters 
of an hour spent in this way, we reached an open space, where 
we rested, and I set up the barometer. Here we found a 
cypress of very stunted growth. 

Our road hence was rather more varied : always steep, 
but sometimes free from impediment. Here and there we 
observed the boggy soil was faced with a small plant {Chamitis 
spJ) of a harsh character, growing so thick and close as to form 
large tufts, over which we walked as on hard ground. We 
struggled through several thickets of stunted beech-trees, with 
a thick jungle of Berberis underneath, whose strong and sharp 
thorns penetrated our clothes at every step ; and began to 
find the fatigue very oppressive : some of my boat's crew 
suffered much, being unused to such exercise. At last we 
approached the place where Mr. Cooke and his party had 
established themselves, and upon hailing, were invigorated by a 
cheer in reply. We reached the bivouac in a very way-worn 
condition, and found, to our great comfort, the tent pitched, 
and a good fire burning.* 

The ground was so exceedingly wet, that although we slept 
upon branches, forming a layer at least a foot thick, we found 
ourselves, in the night, lying as if in a morass, and suffering 
from cold, even with a large fire blazing at our feet. At day- 
light next morning, just as we were starting, a boat was seen 
sailing round Cape San Isidro, which, by the aid of a telescope, 
I made out to be the Hope. 

We resumed the ascent, and passed over, rather than 
through, thickets of the crumply-leaved beech, which, from 

• The height of this place, as shown by the bai'ometer, on the ascent, 
was 941 feet, and, on the descent, 973 feet. 


their exposure to the prevailing winds, rose no higher than 
twelve or fourteen inches from the ground, with widely-spread- 
ing branches, so closely interwoven, as to form a platform that 
bore our weight in walking. We next traversed an extent of 
table-land,* much intersected by ponds of water. Mr. Tarn 
shot two plovers of a new species {Charadrius rubecola, Zool. 
Jour. vol. iv. p. 96), and a snipe. We then ascended three or 
four hundred feet, and crossed a deep ravine. The bottom of 
the ravine was clay-slate in a decomposing state, but the sur- 
face of the ground was strewed with pebbles of granite. 
Another plain, with many ponds, succeeded ; the intervening 
spaces being covered with tufts of chamitis, and studded here 
and there with small clusters of dwarf beech ; but the ground 
was so hard, and firm, that we proceeded rapidly, without 
fatigue, until we attained the height of 1,800 feet, when the 
ascent became very steep. Near the summit lay a large mass 
of snow, rapidly melting away. We reached the highest pin- 
nacle of the mount at seven o'clock (having left our resting- 
place at four), and immediately set up the instruments. I was 
obliged to avail myself of Mr. Tarn's assistance to hold the 
barometer, whilst two of my boat's crew held the legs of the 
theodolite-stand, for the wind was blowing very strongly, and 
the edge of a precipice was close to us, perpendicular for 
many hundred feet, and thence downwards so steep, that any 
body going over would fall at least a thousand feet. The 
theodolite-stand was unavoidably placed within a very few 
inches of the edge, and I took a round of angles, suffer- 
ing, however, intense pain from the piercing coldness of the 
wind, which, heated as we were by the ascent, was much 
felt, though the temperature was not lower than 39°. I was 
lightly clothed, and should have fared badly, had not one of 
the party lent me his Flushing jacket, while he descended under 
the lee of the mountain-top to make a fire. The barometer 
stood at 26, 618, the temperature of the air being 40°, and of 

• On this table-land the barometer stood at 27,767. Temperature of 
the air 46°,5, and of the mercury 47°,5, which gave the elevation 1 ,327 


the mercury 43°.* Unfortunately the day was very cloudy, 
and many squalls of sleet and rain, which obscured the hills, 
passed whilst I Avas taking bearings. To the N.E., towards 
the supposed Sebastian Channel, the horizon was too hazy to 
allow iTiuch view. A deep inlet was seen in that direction ; 
but whether the land closed round, or whether a channel was 
at the bottom, we could not distinguish. A considerable body 
of water was observed to the southward of Cape St. Valentyn, 
behind Lomas Bay, but its extent was screened from our view 
by the intervention of the Lomas hills. It appeared to be a 
channel, the opposite or eastern side of it being formed by the 
high ranges previously seen from Point St. Mary. Cordova's 
Ports San Antonio and Valdez were distinctly made out ; but, 
to the southward, every thing was enveloped in mist. 

The bearings and observations, which occupied me nearly 
two hours, being completed, we all adjourned to a sheltered 
cleft in the rock close to our station, wliere we soon recovered 
the use of our fingers.-|- 

• The result of the barometric observation for tlie height of Mount Tarn 
is as follows : 

Height by one barometer ' ,^ , o'ror i [mean 2,596-H feet. 
° ■' l_ descent 2,b2:>-4J ' 

n * I r ascent 2,ni9'3\ n ma n 

Do. two do. I descent 2,596-7/ ~ ^^^^^'^ 


By angular measurement from Observation Cove, Port Famine, with 
theodolite, allowing f\ of the intercepted arc for terrestrial refraction, the 
height is 2,850 feet. 

Another observation, with the sextant, made it 2,855 feet. The mean 
2,852 I consider more correct, from the difficulty of obtaining a correct 
reading of the barometer on the summit. 

t By Daniell's hygrometer, used in this sheltered spot, I found the 
temperature of the air to be 48° ; dew point 41° : but upon exposing the 
instrument to the wind, the air M^as 39^°, and the dew point 36° : the dif- 
ference in the former being 7° ; and the latter 3^° ; from which the fol- 
lowing results are obtained : 

air. dewpt. diff. exp. dryness. '"'to^ot^r!''''' 

In the ravine 48 41 7 292 776 3-323 

Exposed to wind 39^ 36 3| 248 898 2-871 

Difference ~8| 5 s] 44 122 0-452 



Having accomplished our object, we began the descent. lu 
a comparatively mild and agreeable spot, I again set up the 
theodolite and barometer, while some of the party employed 
themselves in fruitless attempts to kindle a fire. The height, 
by the barometer, proved to be 1,845 feet above the sea ; and 
tlie bearings from this station were much better than those I 
had taken from the exposed summit. 

We reached our tent at noon, having been absent seven 
hours. At three we reached the beach, where the barometer 
stood at 29,312 (air 61. °3,* and mercury 62,°5). 

Excepting near the sea, where clay-slate (very similar to 
that of Point St. Anna, but with an opposite dip) showed itself, 
the side of the hill is clothed with trees and underwood, and 
no rock is visible until one arrives at the ravine. Around the 
summit of Mount Tarn the ground is bare, but so covered with 
small decomposed fragments, that the solid rock only appears 
occasionally : it is very hard, and breaks with a conchoidiil 
fracture : some of the specimens which we detached bore indis- 
tinct impressions of organic remains. We also found, project- 
ing from the rock in which they were embedded, nodules, or 
small rounded masses of stone, in an advanced state of decom- 
position, mouldering away in laminar forms somewhat resem- 
bling the inner leaves of a cabbage. Several were brought 
away carefully, but before we arrived on board they had crum- 
bled to pieces : the nucleus was quite hard, but was surrounded 
by concentric laminae, more brittle the nearer they approached 
to the outer surface. It seemed as if the face of the summit 

The above being the difference in the short space of three feet apart; 
the instrument, in the first case, being- just under the lee of the rocky 
summit of the mountain, and in the last, above it, exposed to the wind. 

* The air was so dry this afternoon that I failed to procure a deposit 
of dew upon Daniell's hygrometer, although the internal temperature was 
lowered from 61° to 37°. One of Jones's portable hygrometers was also 
tried, and the temperature was lowered to 31°^ without a deposit ; so that, 
the difference being more than thirty degrees, the expansive force of the 
air must have been less than 212, the dryness, on the thermometric scale, 
less than 367, and the weight of vapour, in a cubic foot of air, less tlian 
2,355 grains. 

44 hope's cruize. Feb. 1827. 

above-mentioned was covered with the decomposing fragments 
of these nodules. 

The highest parts of the Mount form a ridge extending 
S. E. and N.W., being a succession of strata of slaty rock, 
dipping to the eastward, at an angle of 15° or 20° from the 
horizon. The strata are very narrow, and separated from each 
other by a vein of quartz, much of which is in a crystallized 
state. We reached the ship about seven o'clock, and found that 
the Hope and her party had done well. Her cruize proved 
interesting, with regard to the geography of the Strait, and a 
summary of it is subjoined. 

Mr. Graves's orders were to survey the Sebastian Channel ; 
but in the event of his seeing any thing more interesting to the 
S.E.j he was allowed to defer that service to another oppor- 
tunity. The Hope crossed the Strait, and anchored in a small 
bay, formed between the two projecting points of Cape Valen- 
tyn, where some few defects in the vessel were remedied, and a 
good round of angles obtained from the summit of the Cape, 
whence there was a fine view. The country was low, undu- 
lating, and destitute of trees. From a station about two miles 
overland, to the eastward, a large body of water was observed 
to the southward, forming a channel, or deep sound, and it 
was determined to follow up its examination, rather than risk 
the crew in the deep bay that was supposed to communicate 
with the San Sebastian Channel, on board a vessel whose capa- 
bilities were unknown. Several fire-places and remains of 
wigwams were seen ; the latter were, however, very different, 
both in shape and material, from those at Port Famine, for the 
country being destitute of trees, they were built of driftwood, 
piled up in a conical form. 

Passing round Cape Valentyn, the Hope hauled to the south- 
ward, keeping the land on board. At night she anchored in 
Philip Gidley Cove, at the bottom of Willes Bay, where she 
was weather-bound until the 29th of January. The shores of 
Willes Bay are thickly clothed with wood, growing to the 
water's edge, except at the S.W. side. The great abundance 
of muscles and limpets attracts the Indians, whose wigwams 

Feb 1827. FUEGiAN natives. 45 

were found standing, and from the green appearance of the 
branches with which they were formed, seemed to have been 
lately erected. After leaving WiDes Bay, the Hope visited Fox 
Bay, and Sir Edward Owe^s Sound, which, it was thought, 
would lead into Lomas Bay, opposite to Port Famine ; but, 
after running ten miles up, they got into shoal water, and as 
there was no current, or stream of tide, they landed, and found 
that a mile and a half farther on, the sound was terminated 
by low land. Another day, while proceeding along the south 
side of Bi-enton Sound, the smoke of Indians' fires was 
noticed near the beach. As this was the first time the Natives 
of this part had been seen, the course was shaped towards 
them, until the Hope anchored. Three Indians then ap- 
proached, holding up the skins of some animal, and inviting 
them to land. The small boat was hoisted out, and Messrs- 
Wickham and Rowlett, with Robinson the pilot, went on 
shore. The Fuegians presented a fox skin to each of the party, 
who in return gave them some trifles. After a short inter- 
view the boat left them, and no further communication was 
held that night. The following morning a canoe came off to 
the vessel, containing three young men, two women, and three 
children, the youngest not more than four months old. They 
were no sooner alongside than the men went on board, and 
commenced an active traffic with all the valuables they pos- 
sessed ; and for a few buttons, a glass bottle, or an empty pre- 
served-meat canister, many of their goods were bartered. They 
had several fox-skins with them, but no other kind of peltry, 
except their clothing, obtained from the seal or guanaco : and 
though many of them wore a penguin skin suspended from 
their girdle, some were without even that covering. This canoe 
was followed by another, containing . an old man, sixty or 
seventy years of age, with a grey beard ; an elderly woman, 
and two children. Before they came alongside they put their 
dogs on shore. 

Although the visit from these Indians did not last very long, 
they had time enough to pilfer. One of the young men, who 
was seen going into a canoe, excited, by his manner, a suspi- 

4G FUEfilAX XATIVES. Feb. 18ST. 

cioii of his having stolen something, and a tin pot was found 
concealed under his mantle. As there was every probability of 
their soon separating, and Mr. Graves feared that punishment 
would cause a rupture, he only turned him out of the vessel : 
the rest soon followed him, and landed. Having made a fire, 
the men squatted round it ; while the women were despatched 
to collect shell-fish. 

As soon as the Natives had finished their meal, they em- 
barked, and proceeded eastward. Next day they again visited 
the Hope, but in consequence, perhaps, of the occurrence the 
day before, did not venture alongside, until invited by the 
words, 'ho-say, ho-say,' which mean, 'come, come.' In a few 
minutes confidence was restored, and they began to barter. 
The trade was opened by one of the women making a peace- 
offering of a shell necklace, in return for which, red caps and 
medals were given to each of the women and children. The 
Hope went thence to Soapsuds Cove, where the crew washed 
their clothes, and replaced a broken spar. 

In a S.E. direction from this cove there appeared to be a 
considerable channel leading to the S.E., and to the south- 
ward was a deep sound, towards which they were proceeding 
the next morning ; but having -advanced about two miles, the 
land of Cape Expectation trended suddenly round to the east- 
ward, and a long narrow channel presented itself, which seemed 
likely to communicate with the Strait, to the southward of Port 
San Antonio. Thev proceeded through this channel, which 
takes a very straight course, and gradually narrows from Port 
Waterfall, where it is two miles and a half wide, to Passage 
Cove, where it is scarcely three quarters of a mile ; and there 
they anchored. 

Between Port Waterfall and Passage Cove, a party of Na- 
tives was seen ; but, being probably the same who were met 
at Indian Cove, no attention was paid to their hallooings and 
fires of invitation.* The Hope came into the Strait, east- 
ward of an opening then called Magdalen Sound ; her passage 

* Fires made to attract attention, and invite strangers to land. 

Feb. 1827. SAN gabriei. channel. 47 

must therefore have been through Sarmiento''s ' San Gabriel' 

At night, when between Cape Froward and Port San Anto- 
nio, a heavy squall from S.W. carried the little vessel rapidly 
towards Cape San Isidro, and, at daylight the next morning, 
she was in the position observed by us, while ascending- 
Mount Tarn. 


Deer seen — Hope sails again — Eagle Bay — Gabriel Channel — ' Willi- 
waws ' — Port Waterfall — Natives — Admiralty Sound — Gabriel 
Channel — Magdalen Channel — Hope returns to Port Famine — San 
Antonio — Lomas Bay — Loss of boat — Master and two seamen drowned. 

From Mr. Graves's report of the appearance of the channel 
to the S.E. of Dawson Island, I decided to proceed there as 
soon as the Hope was ready, for she required some alteration, 
and repairs. 

A deer having been seen on Point St. Anna, Mr. Tarn 
landed, very early in the morning, eager for the prize, but 
could only get an ineffectual shot. At another time a few deer 
were seen by our party, near the river ; but instead of return- 
ing with the information, they fired their guns, loaded with 
small shot only, which served but to scare them away. As the 
animal was new to us, and we had evidence of its being equally 
new to Science, I was anxious to procure a specimen, but 
never afterwards had an opportunity. Here Sarmiento saw the 
only deer which he mentions in his journal. 

The morning of the 16th seeming more favourable, I set 
out in the Hope. The heights were covered with snow which 
had fallen the preceding night, the thermometer had been at 
freezing point, and much ice had formed ; but the appearance 
of the weather deceived us: we had scarcely left the ship, when 
it began to rain, and by the time we reached Cape San Isidro 
the wind had freshened to a gale, which obliged me to anchor 
in Eagle Bay. 

Having landed, a tent was pitched, and a blazing fire made 
to dry our clothes. In the evening the gale blew with great 

Feb. 1827. GABRIEL CHANNEL. 49 

violence from S.W., and the Hope, at her anchor, sheered about 
by the squalls, was occasionally laid over so as to dip her gun- 
wale under water. 

The following day (17th), although the rain had ceased, the 
wind was still strong. Towards evening it fell, and early on 
the 18th we left Eagle Bay with a fresh breeze from E.N.E., 
and passed close to Port San Antonio ; but were then delayed 
by calms and squalls. At noon a westerly wind sprung up, 
and we proceeded down the Gabriel Channel, with the wind aft, 
and the tide in our favour. Port Waterfall sheltered us for the 

The apparently artificial formation of this channel is very 
striking. It seems to have been formerly a valley between two 
ridges of the range, in the direction of the strata (of which 
there are frequent instances, such as the valley in the Lomas 
Range, opposite Cape San Isidro, the valley of Valdez Bay, 
and one immediately to the north of the channel itself, besides 
many others), and that at some remote period the sea had 
forced its way through, effecting a communication between the 
Strait and the waters behind Dawson Island : as if one of those 
great ' northern waves,' of which we once heard so much, had 
rolled down the wide reach of the Strait (the parallelism of 
whose shores is also remarkable) from the north-west, towards 
Cape Froward ; and finding itself opposed by the Lomas 
Range, had forced a passage through the valley until stopped 
by the mountains at Fitton Bay. Having imagined such a 
wave in motion, the reader may fancy it uniting with another 
northern roller from Cape San Valentyn, attacking the hills 
and carrying all before it, until Mount Hope, at the bottom 
of Admiralty Sound, arrested its course. I have already noticed 
the remarkably straight direction in which this curious channel 
trends. At both extremities the width may be from two to 
three miles ; but the shores gradually approach each other mid- 
way, and the coast on each side rises abruptly to the height of 
fifteen hundred feet. The south shore, sheltered from the pre- 
vaiUng and strongest winds, is thickly covered with trees and 
luxuriant underwood, which, being chiefly evergreen, improve 

VOL. I. E 

50 wiLT.i\s^\ws. Feb. 1827. 

tlie scenery greatly, particularly in the winter season : the north 
shore is also well wooded for about two-thirds up ; but the sum- 
mit is barren and the outline very much serrated, as is usual in 
slate formations. 

On the north shore we noticed some extraordinary effects of 
the whirlwinds which so frequently occur in Tierra del Fuego. 
The crews of sealing vessels call them ' williwaws,' or ' hur- 
ricane-squalls,'' and they are most violent. The south-west gales, 
which blow upon the coast with extreme fury, are pent up and 
impeded in passing over the high lands ; when, increasing in 
power, they rush violently over the edges of precipices, expand, 
as it were, and descending perpendicularly, destroy every 
thing moveable. The surface of the water, when struck by 
these gusts, is so agitated, as to be covered with foam, which 
is taken up by them, and flies before their fury until dispersed 
in vapour. Ships at anchor under high land are sometimes 
suddenly thrown over on their beam-ends, and the next moment 
recover their equilibrium, as if nothing had occurred. Again 
a squall strikes them, perhaps on the other side, and over they 
heel before its rage : the cable becomes strained, and checks 
the ship with a jerk, that causes her to start a- head through 
the water, until again stopped by the cable, or driven astern 
by another gust of wind. 

At all these anchorages, under high land, there are some 
parts more exposed than others ; and by watching for those 
places which are least troubled by these squalls, a more secure, 
or rather a more quiet, spot may be selected. I do not consider 
ships so anchored to be in danger if their ground tackle be 
good ; but every thing that offers a stiff resistance must suffer 
from the fury of these blasts. In many parts of this country 
trees are torn up by the roots, or rent asunder by the wind ; 
and in the Gabriel Channel the 'williwaws' bursting over 
the mountainous ridge, which forms the south side of the 
channel, descend, and striking against the base of the opposite 
shore, rush up the steep, and carry all before them. I know 
of nothing to which I can better compare the bared track 
left by one of these squalls than to a bad broad road. After 

Feb. 1827. PORT waterfall. 51 

having made such an opening, the wind frequently sweeping 
through prevents the growth of vegetation. Confused masses 
of up-rooted trees lie at the lower ends of these bared tracks, 
and show plainly what power has been exerted. 

The southern shore of the channel is formed by the base of 
that range of hills, which extends, from the eastern side of the 
Magdalen Channel, towards the E.S.E. It is the highest part 
of Tierra del Fuego, and on it are several remarkable moun- 
tains, besides Sarmiento, towering over all. 

Close to the east end of the Gabriel Channel is Mount Buck- 
land, a tall obelisk-like hill, terminating in a sharp needle- 
point, and hfting its head above a chaotic mass of ' reliquiae 
diluvianae,' covered with jierpetual snow, by the melting of 
which an enormous glacier on the leeward, or north-eastern 
side, has been gradually formed. This icy domain is twelve or 
fourteen miles long, and extends from near the end of the chan- 
nel to Port Waterfall, feeding, in the intermediate space, many 
magnificent cascades, which, for number andheight, are not 
perhaps to be exceeded in an equal space of any part of the 
world. Within an extent of nine or ten miles, there are upwards 
of a hundred and fifty waterfalls, dashing into the channel from 
a height of fifteen hundred, or two thousand feet. The course 
of many is concealed, at first, by intervening trees, and, when 
half-way down the descent, they burst upon the view, leaping, 
as it were, out of the wood. Some unite as they fall, and toge- 
ther are precipitated into the sea, in a cloud of foam ; so 
varied, indeed, are the forms of these cascades, and so great 
their contrast with the dark foliage of the trees, which thickly 
cover the sides of the mountain, that it is impossible adequately 
to describe the scene. I have met with nothing exceeding the 
picturesque grandeur of this part of the Strait. 

There are several coves on the south shore, but opposite to 
them there is no shelter until you reach a deep bay in which 
are several islets ; and where, I think, there is a communication 
with Brenton Sound, but we did not enter it. 

Port Waterfall may easily be known by a large flat-topped 
bare rock, lying across the summit of the eastern head, and 

E 2 

52 PORT. WATEUFALL. Feb. 1827. 

by a magnificent cascade formed by the union of two tor- 

All the plants of the Strait grow here : a sweet-scented Cal- 
lixene (C marginata, Lam^.) filled the air with its odour ; and 
a beautiful flower we had not previously seen, was found by 
Mr. Graves : it was pendulous, tubular, about two inches long 
(Class. Hexand. Monog. Cal. 2. Pet. 3. pointed), and of a rich 
carnation colour. 

The trees are small and stunted ; they are of the usual 
species. Beech and Winter' s-bark. Here we first noticed a large 
fern,* having a stem two or three feet long, and five or six 
inches in diameter, very similar to the Zamia of New Hol- 
land. We saw very few birds, and no quadrupeds. Among 
the former was a king-fisher, which at the time was new to us ; 
but it is distributed over a large tract of South America, and 
I have since seen a specimen said to have been shot at Rio de 

Fitton Harbour is a deep inlet, surrounded on all sides by 
precipitous land, rising to the height of three, or four thousand 
feet, and terminated by peaks, of most fantastic shape, covered 
with ice and snow. 

Between Fitton Harbour and Cape Rowlett are high moun- 
tains, two of which, more conspicuous than the rest, we called 
^ Mount Sherrard,' and ' Curious Peak.' 

Card Point proved to be clay-slate, and I think the pro- 
jection of Cape Rowlett, and the mountains, are also of this 

While crossing over towards Cape Rowlett, (the south head 
of a deep sound, trending to the S.E., which it was my intention 
to examine), we were met by three canoes, containing, together, 
about twenty-four people, and ten or twelve dogs. Mr. Wick- 
ham recognised them to be the same party who had visited the 
Hope on her last cruize ; the thief, however, was not amongst 
them, fearing probably he might be known. 

These natives conducted themselves very quietly, and, except 
one of the women, who wished to keep a tin-pot in which some 
• This fern we found at the island of Juan Fernandez also. 

."'■"iL^A.ii.'-'iQj)^ .r'j;^',i;', .. ."..,",.1,1 

Putilisbed tj Hem7/ Colbum.ia. Great MariborougtiStreoi A838. 


Feb. 1827. nativks. 55 

water had been given her, made no attempt to pilfer. One 
of the party, who seemed more than half an idiot, spit in 
my face ; but as it was not apparently done angrily, and he 
was reproved by his companions, his uncourteous conduct was 

If possessed of any furs, they had left them, perhaps con- 
cealed, near their wigwams : only a few arrows, a necklace of 
shells, and a fillet for the head, made of ostrich feathers, were 
obtained by barter. Their canoes were paddled by the women, 
occasionally helped by the men. One or two of the former were 
young, and well-featured, but the rest were hideous ; and all 
were filthy and most disagreeable, from the quantity of seal- 
oil and blubber, with which they had covered their bodies. 
After we had obtained, by barter, all the articles they had to 
dispose of, I presented them with red caps and medals, of 
which they were very proud : the latter they requested might 
have a hole drilled through them, that they might be suspended 
by a string round their necks. Their astonishment was much 
excited, and they were pleased by hearing a watch tick ; but 
I believe I had very nearly, though unintentionally, given great 
offence, by cutting off a lock of hair, from the head of one of 
the men. Assuming a grave look, he very carefully wrapped 
the hair up, and handed it to a woman in the canoe, wlio, as 
carefully, stowed it away in a basket, in which she kept her 
beads and paint : the man then turned round, requesting me, 
very seriously, to put away the scissors, and my compliance 
restored him to good-humour. 

The features of these people bore a great resemblance to 
those of the Patagonian Indians, but in person they were 
considerably sliorter and smaller. The elderly people of botli 
sexes had hideous figures ; the children, however, and young 
men, were well-formed ; particularly one of the boys, whom they 
called 'Yal-la-ba,'' which, I believe, meant a youth, or a young 
warrior. The word ' Sherroo' was used to denote a canoe, or 

They were ill-clothed, with mantles made of guanaco, or 
otter skins, but not so neatly as those of tlie Patagonians. 

54- NATIVES, OR Feb. 1827. 

Their bodies were smeared over with a mixture of earth, char- 
coal, or red-cere, and seal-oil ; which, combined with the filth 
of their persons, produced a most offensive smell. Some were 
partially painted with a white argillaceous earth ; others were 
blackened with charcoal ; one of the men was daubed all over 
with a white pigment. Their hair was bound by a fillet of 
plaited twine, made perhaps with strips of bark, and a few of 
them had it turned up ; but to none did it appear to be an 
object of attention, except one of the young women, who 
repeatedly combed and arranged her's with the well-toothed 
jaw of a porpoise. 

During a remarkably calm night, we were frequently startled 
by the loud blowing of whales, between us and the shore. We 
had noticed several of those monsters on the previous day, but 
had never heard them blow in so still a place. 

At dawn, a light air carried us towards some broken land 
to the S.E. of Cape Rowlett, between the eastern trend of 
which, and the projecting point of an island, we found a secure 
and land-locked harbour, with two entrances, one to the north 
and the other to the south of High Islet. The south side of 
the port, which I called Port Cooke,* is a narrow strip of 
land, forming the head of a deep inlet or sound, called j- Brook 
Harbour. It seemed to extend to the base of the high moun- 
tainous range, and to be separated only by a narrow isthmus 
from Fitton Harbour. 

We had scarcely been at anchor half an hour when the same 
party of Fuegians was seen arriving. The men hastened to us in 
their canoes, as soon as the women had landed, to cover or thatch 
the wigwams, which they found standing, and to light fires. 

We afterwards went ashore, and, sitting down near them, 
commenced a brisk trade for arrows, skins, necklaces, and 
other commodities. The furs which covered their backs they 
parted with, for a few beads, and went quite naked the whole 

Among them was a young man, who appeared to be treated 

• After the lieutenant of the Adventure. 
+ At Mr. Tarn's request. 

Feb. 1827. FUEGiANs. 55 

with some deference by the others ; he was one of the best-look- 
ing of the party ; and there was a good-natured smile on his 
countenance dui'ing our communication, while the rest fre- 
quently manifested displeasui'e, even about trifles. He was, at 
least, the master of one of the two families ; his wigwam con- 
tained his wife, and two children, his, or his wife's father, and 
mother, as well as the idiot, and his wife, who, from her ap- 
pearance, must have been a Patagonian, or else a woman of 
unusual size among these people. The old woman was very 
inquisitive, and the man, in a long speech, described to her all 
the wonders I had shown him, applying to me, from time to 
time, to point out to her the articles he was trying to describe. 

Their dexterity with the sling is extraordinary ; and, I 
should think, when used as a weapon of offence, it must be 
very formidable. Upon asking the same man to show us its 
use, he picked up a pebble, about the size of a pigeon's egg, 
and placed it in the sling ; then intimating that he was going 
to strike a canoe, he turned his back to the mark, and threw 
the stone in an opposite direction, against the trunk of a 
tree, whence it rebounded over his head, and fell close to the 

I have seen them strike a cap, placed upon the stump of a 
tree, fifty or sixty yards off*, with a stone from a sling. In 
using the bow and arrow, also, with which they kill birds, they 
are very dexterous. The spear is principally for striking por- 
poises and seals, but is also used in war ; and from the nature 
of the barb, must be an efficient weapon. For close quarters, 
they use clubs, stones held in the hand, and short wooden 
daggers, pointed with very sharp -edged quartz, pitch-stone, or 

The next morning, seeing us underweigh, they came along- 
side and tried to induce us to anchor again. The young man, 
of whom I have spoken, was very importunate, and at last 
offered us his wife, as a bribe, who used all her fancied allure- 
ments to second his proposal. 

So highly did they esteem beads and buttons, that a few of 
each would have purchased the canoe, the wife, and cliildrcn. 

56 ADMIRALTY SOUND. Feb 1827. 

their dogs, and all the furniture. Seeing us proceed to the 
southward, with the apparent intention of sailing down the 
inlet, they motioned to us to go to the north, repeatedly calling- 
out ' Sherroo, sherroo,' and pointing to the northward ; which 
we thought intimated that there was no passage in the direction 
we were taking. 

At noon, I landed to observe the latitude, and take bearings 
down the Sound to the S.E., at the bottom of which was a 
hill, standing by itself, as it were, in mid-channel. The view 
certainly excited hopes of its being a channel ; and as we had 
begun to calculate upon reaching Nassau Bay in a few days, 
we named this hill. Mount Hope. 

The point on which we landed was at the foot of a hi^h 
snow-capped hill, called by us Mount Seymour ; whence, had 
not the Indians been near, I should have taken bearings. 

We sailed south-eastward, close to the south shore, until the 
evening; when from the summit of some hills, about three 
hundred feet above the sea, we had a view down the Sound, 
which almost convinced us it would prove to be a channel. 
The rock at this place differed from any we had seen in the 
Strait. The mountains are high, and evidently of clay-slate ; 
but the point, near which we anchored, is a mass of hard, and 
very quartzose sand-stone, much resembling the old red sand- 
stone formation of Europe, and precisely like the rock of Goul- 
burn Island, on the north coast of New Holland.* 

The following morning (23d), we proceeded towards Mount 
Hope, while running down to which some squalls passed over, 
clouding the south shore, and as we passed Parry Harbour it 
bore so much the appearance of a channel, that we stood into 
it ; but the clouds clearing away soon exposed the bottom to 
our view, where there seemed to be two arms or inlets. In the 
south-eastern arm, the shores were covered with thick ice (like the 
bottom of Ainsworth Harbour, to the west of Parry Harbour, 
where an immense glacier slopes down to the water's edge). The 
south-west arm appeared to be well sheltered, and if it affords 
a moderate depth of water, would be an excellent harbour. 
• King's ' Australia,' vol. i. p. 70 ; also vol. ii. pp. 573, 582, and 613. 

Feb. 1827. ADMIKALTV SOUND, 57 

After satisfying ourselves that there was no channel here, we 
bore up on our original course ; but, before long, found our- 
selves within two miles of the bottom of the Sound ; which is 
shallow, and appears to receive two rivers. The great quantity 
of ice water, which mingles here with the sea, changed its 
colour to so pale a blue, that we thought ourselves in fresh 

Mount Hope proved to be an isolated mass of hills, lying 
like the rest N.W. and S.E., having low land to the southward, 
over which nothing was visible except one hill, thirty or forty 
miles distant, covered with snow, to which the rays of the sun 
gave the appearance of a sheet of gold. Finding ourselves 
embayed, we hastened out of the scrape, and, after beating for 
some hours, anchored in Parry Harbour. 

Our entrance into a little cove in Parry Harbour disturbed 
a quantity of ducks, steamers, shags, and geese. Their numbers 
showed that Indians had not lately visited it. 

Next day we reached Ainsworth Harbour, which is of the 
same character as Parry Harbour, and affords perfect security 
for small vessels : by dint of sweeping, we reached a secure 
anchorage in a cove at the south-east corner. 

The bottom of the port is formed, as I before said, by an 
immense glacier, from which, during the night, large masses 
broke oft' and fell into the sea with a loud crash,* thus explain- 
ing: the nocturnal noises we had often heard at Port Famine, 
and which at the time were thought to arise from the eruption 
of volcanoes. Such were also, probably, the sounds heard by 
the Spanish officers during their exploration of the Straits, 
whilst in the port of Santa Monica, where they had taken 
refuge from a violent gale of wind.-}- 

• At high tide the sea-water undermines, hy thawing, large masses of 
ice, which, when the tide falls, want support, and, consequently, break 
ofiF, bringing after them huge fragments of the glacier, and falling into 
the still basin with a noise like thunder. 

t " En los dias 24, y 25, oimos un ruido sordo, y de corta duracion, 
que, por el pronto, nos pareci6 trueno ; pero habiendo i-eflexionado, nos 
inelinamos a creer que fue efecto de alguna explosion subterranea, 


58 ADMiuAi.TY SOUND. Feb. 1827. 

The harbour was full of fragments of ice, the succeeding 
morning, drifting into the Sound, where the sea-water, being 
at a higher temperature than the air, rapidly melted them. 

Since our departure from Port Waterfall, the weather had 
been mild, clear, and settled ; but as it wanted only three days 
of the change of the moon, at which period, as well as at the 
full, it always blew a gale, T wished to reach a place of security 
in the Gabriel Channel or Magdalen Sound. 

Near the islands of Ainsworth Harbour, three canoes passed 
us, steering across the Sound, each with a seal-skin fixed up in 
the bow for a sail ; and we recognised in them the party left at 
Port Cooke, among whom was the Indian who had been detected 
in stealing a tin pot. They did not come along-side ; but as we 
went by, pointed to the north, apparently urging us to go in 
that direction. 

We had noticed several wigwams at Parry and Ainsworth 
Harbours, which shows that they are much frequented by 
Indians, perhaps on their way to the open low country east 
of Mount Hope, where numerous herds of guanacoes may be 

Porpoises and seal were not scarce in this inlet, and in the 
entrance there were many whales. The presence of seal and 
wiiales made me think it probable there was a channel ; but I 
believe every person with me was satisfied of its being a sound, 
terminating under Mount Hope. Since my later experience of 
the deceptive character of some passages in Tierra del Fuego 
(the Barbara Channel, for example), I have felt less certain 
that there may not be a communication with the low land, 
behind Mount Hope, round its northern base. The improba- 
bility was, however, so great, — from the bottom of the sound 

formado en el seno de alg-una de las montanas inmediatas, en que 
parece haber algunos minerales, y aun volcanes, que estan del todo 6 
casi apagados, movifendonos a hacer este juicio, el haberse encontrado, 
en la eima de una de ellas, porcion de materia compuesta de tierra y 
metal, que en su peso, color, y demas caracteres, tenia impreso el sello 
del fuego active en que habia tornado aquel estado, pues era una perfects 
iinagfen de las cscorias del hierro quo se ven en nuestras fen-erias. — 
^pendice al Fiuge de Cordova al Mfujullanes, p. 65. 

Feb. 1827. ADMIKALTY SOUND. 59 

being shoal, — from the very slight tide-stream, — and from the 
information of the Natives ; who evidently intended to tell us 
we could not get out to sea, — that we did not consider it Avorth 
while to make another examination. 

I have before observed that the strata of the slate rocks, in 
the Strait, dip to the S.E. ; and I found that they dip similarly 
all the way to the bottom of this inlet, which I named Admiralty 

The north side, like that of the Gabriel Channel, is steep, 
without indentations, excepting where there is a break in the 
hills ; but on the south shore there are many coves, and bights, 
the cause of which is shown in tlie accompanying imaginary 
section of the Gabriel Channel. The same cause operates on 
the outline of the north shore of the reach of Cape Froward, 
westward as far as Cape Holland, where the rock assumes a 
still more primitive form. Its general character, however, is 
micaceous slate, with broad veins of quartz ; the latter being 
particularly conspicuous at Port Gallant. 

The following slight sketch, intended to represent an ima- 
ginary section of such an opening as the Gabriel Channel, 
may also serve to give a general idea of many Fuegian ancho- 
rages ; — of deep water passages existing between the almost 
innumerable islands of Tierra del Fuego ; — and of the effects 
of those sudden, and violent gusts of wind, — so frequent and 
dangerous, — commonly called hurricane-squalls,* orwilliwaws. 

• No canvas could withstand some of these squalls, which carry spray, 
leaves, and dirt before them, in a dense cloud, reaching from the water to 
the height of a ship's lower yards, or even lower mast-heads. Happily their 
duration is so short, that the cable of a vessel, at anchor, is scarcely 
strained to the utmost, before the furious blast is over. Persons who have 
been some time in Tierra del Fuego, but fortunate enough not to have 
experienced the extreme violence of such squalls, may incline to think 
their force exaggerated in this description : but it ought to be considered, 
that their utmost fury is only felt during unusually heavy gales, and in 
particular situations ; so that a ship might pass through the Strait of 
Magalhaens many times, without encountering one such blast as has 
occasionally been witnessed there. — R.F. 



Feb. 1827. 

The rock, of course, decomposes equally on both sides ; but 
on that exposed to the south wind, it breaks off in flakes 
parallel to the direction of the strata, and therefore does not 
make the course of the beach more irregular; while on the other 
side it moulders away transversely to the direction of the dij), 
leaving holes, in which water lodges, and hastens decomposition 
by entering deeply into the interstices. Water, air, and frost 
decompose the rock, and form a soil, which, if not too much 
exposed to the wind, is soon occupied by vegetation. 

The rugged faces of the cliffs, on the southern shore, caused 
by the rock decomposing across the grain, collect sand and 
mud ; and hence it happens that anchorages are frequently 
found on one side, whilst, on the other, the anchor will not 
hold, from the steepness of the ground ; there being nothing 
upon the smooth declivity to retain mud and sand before it 
gets to the bottom ; which, in most cases known to me, lies far 
beyond the reach of the anchor. 

After a tedious and difficult passage through the Gabriel 
Channel, we anchored in a snug harbour within the entrance 
of Magdalen Channel, on the west side, under a peaked hill 
called by Sarmiento ' El Vernal,' — in our plan, the ' Sugar- 
loaf.' The entrance is about a quarter of a mile wide ; but 
after a few hundred yards the harbour opens, extending in for 
nearly a mile. It is of easy depth ; seven fathoms in the 
entrance, and four, five, and six fathoms within ; so that it is 

Feb. 1827. MAGDALEX CHANNEL. 61 

very convenient for a small vessel : to us, indeed, it was a most 
welcome discovery. The land rises, around this cove, to the 
height of two or three tliousand feet. It is covered with Beech, 
and Winter"'s-bark, and near the water is adorned with larffe 
groves of Fuchsia, Berberis, and the common shrubs of Port 
Famine, growing so thickly as to form an almost impenetrable 
jungle; but, notwithstanding the picturesque character of its 
scenery, the towering height of the hills, which exclude the 
sun's rays for the whole day, during the greater portion of the 
year, renders it a gloomy and melancholy spot.* 

We found a family of Fuegians in the inner harbour. 
Three canoes were hauled up on the beach, but their owners 
were not at first visible. At last, after our repeatedly calling 
out ' Ho-say, ho-say,'' they appeared, and, rather reluctantly, 
invited us, by signs, to land. There seemed to be fourteen 
or fifteen people, and seven or eight dogs. Mr. Wickham and 
Mr. Tarn went on shore to these natives, who exhibited some 
timidity, until a hideous old woman began to chatter, and soon 
made them understand that the young men (La-a-pas) were 
absent on a hunting excursion, but were every moment ex- 
pected to return. There were only three men with the women 
and children. To inspire them with confidence in our good 
intentions, Mr. Wickham gave each man a red cap, and some 
other trifles. One of them complained of being sick, but I 
rather imagine his illness was feigned, and the others did not 
at all seem to like our visit. By degrees their fears sub- 
sided, and, restraint being laid aside, an active trade began ; 
in which several otter skins, shell-necklaces, spears, and other 
trifles, were obtained from them in exchange for beads, buttons, 
medals, &c. The otters are caught by the help of dogs, on 
which account, principally, the latter are so valuable. 

These people were slightly clothed with skins of the seal 
and otter, but some had pieces of guanaco mantles over their 
shoulders, whence we svipposed that they Avere either of the 
isame tribe, or at peace, with the Indians of Admiralty Sound : 

* " sub rupe cavata 

Arboribus clausam circum atcjue horrentibus umbris." 

62 MAGDALEN CHANNEL. Feb. 1827. 

unless, indeed, they trade with the Patagonian Indians ; but 
such is the poverty of the Fuegians, they can scarcely possess 
any thing of value sufficient to exchange with the goods of their 
northern neighbours, unless it be iron pyrites, which I think 
is not found in the open country inhabited by the Patagonian 
Indians, and, from the facility with which it yields sparks of 
fire, must be an object of importance. 

We were not a little amused, by the surprise which these 
natives showed at the things in our possession, and by the 
effect produced in their countenances when they saw any thing 
extraordinary : the expression was not that of joy or surprise, 
but a sort of vacant, stupified, stare at each other. They must 
have been very suspicious of our intentions, or very much 
excited by what they had seen during the day, as throughout 
the night an incessant chattering of voices was heard on shore, 
interrupted only by the barking of their dogs. 

Looking down the Magdalen Inlet, we saw two openings, 
which, while the hills were enveloped in mist, had the ap- 
pearance of being channels. We proceeded for some distance 
into the more westerly of the two, but found that it was merely 
a sound, terminated by high land. The boat was then steered 
under a steep mass of black mountainous land,* the summit 
of which is divided into three peaks, which Sarmiento called 
' El Pan de Azucar de los Boquerones' (the Sugar-loaf of tlie 
Openings). We ran southward, fifteen miles down this sound, 
and reached the Labyrinth Islands; but finding there no suitable 
anchorage, resumed our course towards the bottom of what we 
thought another sound, terminated by mountains. At noon, 
the furthest point, on the west shore, which we called Cape 
Turn, was within three miles of us, and we should soon have 
discovered the continuation of the channel (as it has since been 
proved) ; but a breeze set in from the S. W., and in a short time 
it blew so strono; as to oblige us to turn back. ' Williwaws' 
and baffling eddy winds kept us seven hours under Mount 
Boqueron. These squalls were at first alarming, but by taking 
in all sail, before they passed, we sustained no injury. At sun- 

• Mount BoqTieron. 

Feb. 1827. san antonio — lojias bay. 63 

set we were abreast of Hope Harbour, in which we pur- 
posed taking shelter from the gale. Our late neighbours, the 
Indians, had lighted a fire at the entrance to invite our return ; 
but wind and tide were against us, and as we knew of no port 
to leeward, our only resource was to run out of the sound. 
Furious squalls carried us into the true, or steady, wind, 
which we found very strong ; and as Port San Antonio was 
on the lee-bow, we had to carry such a press of sail, that our 
excellent boat had nearly half the lee side of her deck under 
water. By daylight we got into smooth water, and, with less 
wind and better weather, steered for Port Famine. The 
smoother water enabled us to light a fire and cook a meal, not 
an unimportant affair, as we had eaten nothing since six o'clock 
on the preceding morning. 

In our absence Mr. Graves had surveyed Lomas Bay, and, 
after his return, Mr. Ainsworth had crossed the Strait with the 
gig and cutter to survey Port San Antonio. They were victualled 
for five days ; the gig was manned by my own boat's crew, and 
the cutter by volunteers : but although they had not come back, 
we felt no anxiety about their safety, being assured that Mr. 
Ainsworth would not run the risk of crossing the Strait during 
bad weather. The tempestuous state of the two following days, 
however, made us uneasy, and on the third morning, when the 
wind moderated much, we looked out anxiously for their 
arrival. In the evening the cutter returned ; but, alas ! with 
the melancholy information of the loss of Mr. Ainsworth, and 
two seamen, drowned by the upsetting of the gig. One of the 
latter was my excellent coxswain, John Corkhill. The remain- 
der of the gig's crew were only rescued from drowning by the 
strenuous exertions of those in the cutter. 

Mr. Ainsworth, anxious to return to the ship, thought too 
little of the difficulty and danger of crossing the Strait during 
unsettled weather. He set out from Port San Antonio under 
sail, and, while sheltered by the land, did very well ; but as 
soon as they got into the offing, both wind and sea increased 
so much that the gig was in great danger, although under only 
a small close-reefed sail. 


The people in the cutter were anxiously watching her labour- 
ing movements, when she disappeared ! They hastened to the 
spot — saved three men ; but the other two had gone down. 
Poor Ainsworth was still clinging to the gig's gunwale when 
his shipmates eagerly approached ; but letting go his hold from 
extreme exhaustion, and being heavily clothed, he sunk from 
their sight to rise no more. 

He had been cheering the drowning crew, and trying to save 
his companions, till the moment his grasp relaxed. Just before 
Ainsworth himself let go, Mr. Hodgskin lost his hold, ex- 
claiming, " Ainsworth, save me !" when, exhausted as he was, 
with one hand he rescued his friend, and, directly afterwards, 
his strength failing, sunk. 

This addition of three people to the already loaded cutter, 
made her cargo more than was safe, therefore Mr. Williams, 
who commanded her, very prudently bore up for the first con- 
venient landing-place, and happily succeeded in reaching the 
only part of the beach, between Lomas Bay and Cape Valentyn, 
where a boat could land. 

The following morning, the weather being more favourable, 
they crossed under sail to Freshwater Bay, and thence pulled 
to Port Famine. 

This melancholy disaster was much felt by every one. Ains- 
Avorth was a deserving officer, and highly esteemed. Corkhill 
was captain of the forecastle, and had served in the Polar 
voyages under Sir Edward Parry. On the Sunday following, 
the colours were hoisted half-mast high, and the funeral service 
was read after morning prayers : for although to recover the 
bodies was impossible, their watery grave was before our eyes ; 
and the performance of this last sad duty was a melancholy 

" Ours are the tears, tho' few, sincerely shed, 
When ocean shrouds and sepulchres our dead." 

A tablet was subsequently erected, on Point St. Anna, to 
record this fatal accident. 


Lieutenant ShoU arrives — Beagle returns — Loss of the Saxe Cobourg 
sealer — Captain Stokes goes to Fury Harbour to save her crew — 
Beagle's proceedings — Bougainville's memorial — Cordova's memorial 
— Beagle's danger — Difficulties — Captain Stokes's boat-cruize — Pas- 
sages — Natives — Dangerous service — Western entrance of the Strait 
of Magalhaens — Hope's cruize — Prepare to return to Monte Video. 

The Beagle's time of absence had expired on the 1st of April, 
and our anxiety, more excited by our recent loss, was becoming 
painful. I detained the Hope from going vipon a service for 
which she was prepared, in case she might be required to 
search for our consort : but on the 6th a strange whale-boat 
was descried pulling towards us from the southward, in which 
we soon distinguished Lieut. ShoU. His appearance, under 
such circumstances, of course raised fears for the Beagle's 
safety ; but, on approaching, his gratifying shout, "all's well !" 
at once removed anxiety. 

Mr. Sholl informed me, that the Beagle had picked up a 
boat, belonging to the schooner ' Prince of Saxe Cobourg, 
wrecked in Fury Harbour, at the south entrance of the Bar- 
bara Channel ; and that she had put into Port Gallant, whence 
Captain Stokes had gone with the boats to assist the Sealers, 
leaving Lieut. Skyring on board. 

The safety of the Beagle being established, I despatched 
Mr. Graves, in the Hope, to examine some openings between 
the Magdalen Channel and the Dos Hermanos of Bougainville. 

Several days earlier than I expected, the Beagle made her 
appearance, and Captain Stokes soon gave me the agreeable 
intelligence of having succeeded in saving the Prince of Saxe 
Cobourg's crew. Favoured by the weather, though delayed by 
his guide having forgotten the way. Captain Stokes reached 
Fury Harbour in two days, and embarked the master and 

VOL. I. F 


crew of the wrecked vessel, with all their personal property, 
and the greater part of the seal-skins which they had cured. 
He reached Port Gallant again on the fourth day ; sailed 
immediately in the Beagle, and two days afterwards anchored 
in Port Famine. 

The Prince of Saxe Cobourg, belonging to Mr. Weddel 
(whose voyage towards the South Pole is so well known), and 
commanded by Mr. Matthew Brisbane, who accompanied 
Weddel on that occasion, sailed from England in the summer 
of 1826, on a sealing voyage. At South Shetland she encoun- 
tered a continuance of bad weather, was beset by a large body 
of ice for several days, and received so much damage as to 
oblige her to run for the Fuegian coast, and anchor in Fury 
Harbour, at the entrance of the Barbara Channel. There 
(December 16th, 1826) she was driven on shore by the furious 
strength of the williwaws, and wrecked. The crew were, 
however, enabled to save most of the provisions and stores, as 
well as their three boats. Having made tents, and established 
themselves on shore, they remained in anxious expectation of 
the arrival of some vessel which might relieve them ; day after 
day however passed, without succour. 

Two boats were despatched to look for any sealing vessel 
that might be in the vicinity, but after fifteen days' absence 
they returned unsuccessful. In this interval one of the crew, 
who had long been sickly, died ; and another, in carelessly 
discharging a musket, exploded twenty pounds of gunpowder, 
by which he was very much burned. Three of the people being 
mutinous, were punished by being sent, each to a different 
island, with only a week's provisions. 

Soon afterwards another boat was sent away, which reached 
Hope Harbour, but found no vessel there. Seven of the people 
then obtained permission from the master (who kept up a very 
proper state of discipline), to take the largest whale-boat, and 
go towards the River Negro. Previous to their departure 
they drew vip articles of agreement for their general conduct, 
a breach of which was to be punished by the offender 
being left upon the coast, wherever they might happen to 

April 1827. saxe cobourg schooner. 67 

be. Tlie boat eventually arrived safely at the place of her 
destination, and the crew entered as volunteers on board of 
the Buenos Ayrean squadron, at that time engaged in the 
war with Brazil. 

Again a boat was despatched, directed to go westward 
through the Strait in search of vessels. She had only reached 
as far as Playa Parda, when the Beagle fell in with her 
(March 3d, 1827). While passing through the small channels, 
before entering the Strait, she met several canoes, with Indians, 
who endeavoured to stop her, and shot arrows at the crew ; 
but, happily, without doing any mischief. 

After the last boat's departure, Mr. Brisbane began to build 
a small vessel, and, while so employed, was visited by a party 
of natives, who conducted themselves very peaceably, and went 
away. Their visit, however, gave the shipwrecked people, 
now much reduced in number,* reason to apprehend the 
return of a larger body, who might try to possess themselves 
of the property which was lying about on the shore ; they 
therefore buried a great deal, and took means to preserve 
the rest by making preparations to repel attack. When 
Captain Stokes appeared with his two boats, the Sealers flew 
to their arms, calling out " the Indians, the Indians !" but 
in a very few minutes excess of joy succeeded to their sudden 

Captain Stokes found the vessel lying on the rocks, bilged, and 
an utter wreck. The master and crew were extremely anxious 
to get away, he therefore embarked them, with as much of 
the property as could be carried, and succeeded (after another 
night in the boats, and a long pull of eighty miles,) in conveying 
them safely to the Beagle. 

The following is an abstract of Captain Stokes's journal of 
his cruise to the western entrance of the Strait. 

The Beagle sailed from Port Famine on the 15th of January, 
to explore the Strait westward of Cape Froward, and to fix 
particularly the positions of Cape Pillar, the rock called West- 

• Including the master, theic were on boartl, when cast a-vvay, tn-eiity- 
two persons. 

F 2 

68 beagle's proceedings. Jan. 1827. 

minster Hall, and the Islands of Direction, at the western 
entrance of the Strait. 

For the first night Captain Stokes anchored in San Nicolas 
Bay, and in the evening examined a harbour* behind Nassau 
Island, which Bougainville, in the year 1765, visited for the 
purpose of procuring wood for the French settlement at the 
Falkland Islands. 

On the second night, after a day nearly calm, the Beagle 
was anchored in a cove to the eastward of Cape Froward, and 
the next day (17th) passed round the Cape, carrying a heavy 
press of sail against a dead foul wind. Captain Stokes's account 
of this day's beat to windward will give the reader an idea of 
the sort of navigation. 

" Our little bay had screened us so completely from the 
wind, that though, when (at five a.m.) we weighed, the breeze 
was so light as scarcely to enable us, with all sail set, to clear 
its entrance ; no sooner were we outside, than we were obliged 
to treble reef the topsails. We continued to beat to wind- 
ward under a heavy press of sail ; our object being to double 
Cape Froward, and secure, if possible, an anchorage ere night- 
fall under Cape Holland, six leagues further to the westward. 
At first we made ' boards ' right across the Straits to within a 
third of a mile of each sliore, gaining, however, but little. 
We then tried whether, by confining our tacks to either coast, 
we could discover a tide by which we might profit ; and for 
that purpose I began with the nortli shore, for though we v/ei'e 
there more exposed to violent squalls which came down the 
valleys, I thought it advisable to avoid the indraught of 
various channels intersecting the Fuegian coast; but having 
made several boards without any perceptible advantage, we 
tried the south shore, with such success that I was induced to 
keep on that side during the remainder of the day. 

" And here let me remark, that in consequence of the 
Avesterly winds which blow through the western parts of the 
Straits of Magalhaens, with almost the constancy (as regards 

* Bougainville Harbour, better known to Sealers by the name of ' Jack's 

Jan. 1827. beagle — cape fkoward. 69 

direction, not force) of a trade-wind ; a current setting to the 
eastward, commonly at the rate of a knot and three quarters 
an hour, will be found in mid-channel. The tides exert 
scarcely any influence, except near either shore ; and some- 
times appear to set, up one side of the Straits, and down the 
other : the weather tide is generally shown by a rippling, (c) 

" Heavy squalls off Cape Froward repeatedly obliged us to 
clew all up. By day their approach is announced, in time for 
the necessary precautions, by their curling up and covering 
with foam the surface of the water, and driving the spray in 
clouds before them. 

" At last we doubled Cape Froward. This Cape (called 
by the Spaniards El Morro de Santa Agueda), the southern- 
most point of all America, is a bold promontory, composed of 
dark coloured slaty rock ; its outer face is nearly perpen- 
dicular, and whether coming from the eastward or westward, 
it ' makes ' as a high round-topped bluff hill (' Morro'). 

" Bougainville observes, that ' Cape Froward has always 
been much dreaded by navigators.'-f- To double it, and gain an 
anchorage under Cape Holland, certainly cost the Beagle as 
tough a sixteen hours' beat as I have ever witnessed : we made 
thirty-one tacks, which, with the squalls, kept us constantly on 
the alert, and scarcely allowed the crew to have the ropes out 
of their hands throughout the day. But what there is to 
inspire a navigator with ' dread' I cannot tell, for the coast on 
both sides is perfectly clear, and a vessel may work from shore 
to shore." 

From Cape Holland, the Beagle proceeded to Port Gallant, 
and during her stay there, Mr. Bowen ascended the Mountain 
de la Cruz. Upon the summit he found some remains of a 
glass bottle, and a roll of papers, Avhich proved to be the 
memorials stated to have been left by Don Antonio de Cordova, 

(c) ^Vhile the ' current' runs eastward for many days in mid-channel, 
or along one shore, it often happens that the ' stream of tide' either sets 
in a contrary direction, along each side of the Strait, or that it follows 
only the shore opposite to that washed by the ' current.' — R. F. 

t " Voyage autour du Monde." 1767- 

70 bougainville''s memorial. Jan. 1827 

and a copy of a document that had previously been deposited 
there % M. de Bougainville. With these papers was found 
a Spanish two-rial piece of Carlos III., which had been bent 
to admit of its being put into the bottle. It was with consi- 
derable difficulty that any of the writing could be decyphered, 
for the papers, having been doubled up, were tora, and the 
words defaced at the foldings, and edges. 

Bougainville's memorial was in Latin. Cordova's, besides 
a document in Latin, was accompanied by an account of his 
voyage, written in four languages, Spanish, French, Italian, 
and Enghsh. The legible part of the former was as follows : — 

Viatori Benevolo salus 

que a periculose admodum naviga 

Brasilia Bonarve et insularum 

incertis freti Magellanici portubus. . . . 

historia astronomia. . . . 

.... Boug 

Boug .... Duclos et de la Giranda 2 navium • . 


.... ComersoD . . . .Doct med naturalista Regio 
accu....m. Veron astronomo de Romainville hidrographio 

a rege Cliristianissimo demandans 

Landais Lavan Fontaine navium 

Loco tenentibus et V^exillariis 

itineris locus DD Dervi Lemoyne .... 

RioufFe voluntariis. 

vives scriba 


The Latin inscription of Cordova was as follows : — 

Benevolo Navigator! 
Anno Domini MDCCLXXXVIII Vir celeberrimus 
DD Antonius de Cordova Laso de Vega navibus duabus {quarum 
nomina SS Casilda et Eulalia erant ad scrutamen Magellanici 
freti subsequendum undque littorum, portuum aliorumque notabilium 

iter iterum fecit. 

e Gadibus classis tertio nonas Octobris habenas immittit 

quarto idus ejusdem Nova vidit 

Jan. 1827. Cordova's memorial. 71 

A Boreali ad Austra viiserium postridie Kalendae 

Novembris emigravit. 

Decimo quarto Kalendas Januarii Patagonicis recognitis 
litoribus ad ostium appulit freti. 

Tandem ingentibus perieulis et borroribus tam in mari quam 
in freto magnanime et constanter superatis et omnibus 
portubus atque navium. fundamentis utriusque litoris 
correctissime cognitis ad hunc portum Divini Jose vel 
Galante septimo idu Januarii pervenit ubi ad 
perpetuam rei memoriam in monte sanctissimae crucis hoc 
monumentura reliquit. 

Tertio et excelso Carolo regnante potente 

RegfJi jussu facta fuere suo. 
Colocatum fuit nono Kalendae Februarii Anno MDCCLXXXIX. 

together with a list of the officers of both vessels, and enclosing 
a memorial of Cordova's former voyage in the Santa Maria de 
la Cabeza. The originals are placed in the British Museum ; 
but before we finally left the Strait, copies were made on vel- 
lum, and deposited on the same spot. 

The Beagle left Port Gallant* with a fair wind, which carried 
her to Swallow Harbour. 

The next stopping place was Marian's Cove, a very snug 
anchorage on the north shore, a few miles beyond Playa 
Parda. Proceeding thence to the westward, with the wind 
' in their teeth,' and such bad weather, that they could only 
see the land of either coast at intervals, and failing in an 
attempt to find anchorage under Cape Upright, the Beagle 
was kept under weigh during a squally dark night. 

In that very place, Commodore Byron, with the Dolphin 
and Tamar, passed the anxious night, which he thus de- 
scribes : — 

" Our situation was now very alarming ; the storm increased 
every minute, the weather was extremely thick, and the rain 
seemed to threaten another deluge ; we had a long dark night 
before us, we were in a narrow channel, and surrounded on 

* One of tbe feathered tribe, which a naturalist would not expect to 
find here, a ' humming bird,' was shot near the beach by a young mid- 
shipman. — Stokes MS. 

72 beagle's dangek. Jan. 1827. 

every side by rocks and breakers."* The Beagle was under 
similar circumstances, but the land beino; known to be high 
and bold, her danger was not considered so imminent. 

Eastward of Cape Upright the water was smooth ; but 
between it and Cape Providence a heavy breaking sea was 
caused by the deep swell of the Pacific. Captain Stokes found 
an ancliorage the next night in a bay under Cape Tamar ; and 
tlie following evening very nearly reached another under Cape 
Phillip ; but the darkness of a rainy night, and strong squalls, 
prevented their attempting to anchor in an unknown place, 
and the only resource was to bear up for shelter under Cape 
Tamar, where the previous night had been passed. Even 
this was a dangerous attempt ; they could hardly discern any 
part of the high land, and when before the wind could not 
avoid the ship's going much too fast. While running about 
eight knots, a violent shock — a lift forward — heel over — and 
downward plunge — electrified every one ; but before they could 
look round, she was scudding along, as before, having fairly 
leaped over the rock. 

It was afterwards found that a great part of the gripe and 
false keel were knocked away. Captain Stokes's account of 
this day's beat will give an idea of the difficulties which the 
Beagle's crew encountered, in working out of the Strait. 

January 31st. "The hands were turned up at daylight 
" up anchor ;" but the heavy squalls that came off the high 
land of the harbour, rendered it too hazardous to weigh, until 
a temporary lull enabled us to make sail, and re-commence 
beating to the westward against a dead foul wind, much rain, 
hard squalls, and a turbulent cross sea. 

" The squalls became more frequent and more violent 
after noon ; but they gave, in daylight, sufficient warning, 
being preceded by dark clouds gradually expanding upwards, 
until their upper line attained the altitude of about fifty 
degrees : then came heavy rain, and perhaps hail ; immediately 
after followed the squall in all its fury, and generally lasted 
fifteen or twenty minutes. 

• Ilawkesworth's Coll. of Voyages, vol. i. p, 7*>- 

Jan. 1827. pifficulties. 73 

" In working to windward we frequently extended our 
' boards ' to the south shore (not without risk considering the 
state of the weather), with the hope of making out Tuesday 
Bay, or some anchorage thereabout ; but the coast was covered 
with so thick a mist, that not a single point, mentioned by 
preceding navigators, could be recognised. 

" About seven in the evening we were assailed by a squall, 
which burst upon the ship with fury far surpassing all that 
preceded it ; had not sail been shortened in time, not a 
stick would have been left standing, or she must have capsized. 
As it was, the squall hove her so much over on her broadside, 
that the boat which was hanging at the starboard quarter 
was washed away. I then stood over to the north shore, to 
look for anchorage under the lee of a cape, about three leagues 
to the north-west of Cape Tamar. On closing it, the weather 
became so thick that at times we could scarcely see two ships' 
lengths a-head. 

" These circumstances were not in favour of exploring 
unknown bays, and to think of passing such a night as was in 
prospect, under sail in the Straits, would have been a desperate 
risk ; I was obliged therefore to yield the hard-gained advan- 
tage of this day's beat, and run for the anchorage whence we 
had started in the morning. 

" It was nearly dark ere we reached it ; and in entering, 
desirous to keep well up to windward, in order to gain the 
best anchorage, I went too close to the outer islet, and the ship 
struck violently on a rocky ledge. However, she did not hang 
a moment, and was soon anchored in safety." 

Finding so much danger and difficulty, in proceeding with 
the ship, without first knowing where to run for anchorages. 
Captain Stokes left her in Tamar Bay, under the charge of 
Lieutenant Skyring; and, accompanied by Mr.FKnn, set out in 
the cutter, with a week's provisions, to examine the south coast. 

In a very arduous and dangerous cruize he discovered several 
well-sheltered anchorages, but experienced a " constant heavy 
gale from W.N.W., with thick weather and incessant di-ench- 
ing rain." 


Captain Stokes says, " Our discomfort in an open boat was 
very great, since we were all constantly wet to the skin. In 
trying to double the various headlands, we were repeatedly 
obliged (after hours of ineffectual struggle against sea and 
wind) to desist from useless labour, and take refuge in the 
nearest cove which lay to leeward." 

From the Harbour of Mercy, Captain Stokes attempted to 
cross the Strait, on his return to the Beagle ; but the sea ran 
too high, and obliged him to defer his daring purpose until 
the weather was more favourable. 

During his absence, Lieutenant Skyring surveyed Tamar 
Bay and its vicinity. 

Again the Beagle weighed, and tried hard to make some 
progress to the westward, but was obliged a third time to 
return to Tamar Bay. After another delay she just reached 
Sholl Bay, under Cape Phillip, and remained there one day, to 
make a plan of the anchorage, and take observations to fix its 

The Beagle reached the Harbour of Mercy (Separation 
Harbour of Wallis and Carteret),* after a thirty days' passage 
from Port Famine, on the 15th, having visited several ancho- 
rages on the south shore in her way. But tedious and haras- 
sing as her progress had been, the accounts of Byron, Wallis, 
Carteret, and Bougainville show that they found more difficulty, 
and took more time, in their passages from Port Famine to the 
western entrance of the Strait. Byron, in 1764, was forty-two 
days ; Wallis, in 1766, eighty-two ; Carteret, in the same 
year, eighty-four ; and Bougainville, in 1768, forty days, in 
going that short distance. 

Five days were passed at this place, during which they com- 
municated with a few natives, of whom Captain Stokes remarks; 
" As might be expected from the unkindly climate in which 
they dwell, the personal appearance of these Indians does not 

• It was here that Commodore Wallis and Captain Carteret separated, 
the Dolphin going round the world ; the Swallow returning to England. 
Sarmiento's name of Puerto de la Misericordia, or ' Harbour of Mercy,' 
being of prior date, ought doubtless to be retained. 

Feb. 1827. passages — natives, 75 

exhibit, either in male or female, any indications of activity or 
strength. Their average height is five feet five inches ; their 
habit of body is spare ; the limbs are badly turned, and defi- 
cient in muscle ; the hair of their head is black, straight, 
and coarse ; their beards, whiskers, and eyebrows, naturally 
exceedingly scanty, are carefully plucked out ; their forehead 
is low ; the nose rather prominent, with dilated nostrils ; their 
eyes are dark, and of a moderate size ; the mouth is large, 
and the under-lip thick ; their teeth are small and regular, 
but of bad colour. They are of a dirty copper colour ; 
their countenance is dull, and devoid of expression. For 
protection against the rigours of these inclement regions, their 
clothing is miserably suited ; being only the skin of a seal, 
or sea-otter, thrown over the shoulders, with the hairy side 

" The two upper corners of this skin are tied together across 
the breast with a strip of sinew or skin, and a similar thong 
secures it round the waist ; the skirts are brought forward so 
as to be a partial covering. Their comb is a portion of the 
jaw of a porpoise, and they anoint their hair with seal or whale 
blubber ; for removing the beard and eyebrows they employ a 
very primitive kind of tweezers, namely, two muscle shells. 
They daub their bodies with a red earth, like the ruddle used 
in England for marking sheep. The women, and children, 
wear necklaces, formed of small shells, neatly attached by a 
})laiting of the fine fibres of seal's intestines. 

" The tracts they inhabit are altogether destitute of four- 
footed animals ; they have not domesticated the geese or ducks 
which abound here ; of tillage they are utterly ignorant ; and 
the only vegetable productions they eat are a few wild berries 
and a kind of sea-weed. Their principal food consists of 
muscles, limpets, and sea-eggs, and, as often as possible, 
seal, sea-otter, porpoise, and whale ; we often found in their 
deserted dwellings bones of these animals, which had under- 
gone the action of fire. 

" Former voyagers have noticed the avidity with which they 
swallowed the most offensive offal, such as decaying seal-skins. 

76 FUEGIAN NATIVES. Feb. 1827. 

rancid seal, and whale blubber, &c. When on board my ship, 
they ate or drank greedily whatever was offered to them, salt- 
beef, salt-pork, preserved meat, pudding, pea-soup, tea, coffee, 
wine, or brandy — nothing came amiss. One little instance, 
however, happened, whicli showed what they preferred. As 
they were going ashore, a lump of the tallow used for arming 
the lead was given to them, and received with particular 
delight. It was scrupulously divided, and placed in the little 
baskets which they form of rushes, to be reserved for eating 
last, as the richest treat. 

" To their dwellings have been given, in various books of 
voyages, the names of huts, wigwams, &c. ; but, with reference 
to their structure, I think old Sir John Narborough's term for 
them will convey the best idea to an English reader; he calls 
them ' arbours.' They are formed of about a couple of dozen 
branches, pointed at the larger ends, and stuck into the ground 
round a circular or elliptical space, about ten feet by six ; the 
upper ends are brought together, and secured by tyers of grass, 
over which is thrown a thatching of grass and seal-skins, a 
hole being left at the side as a door, and another at tlie top as a 
vent for the smoke. A fire is kept burning within, over which 
the natives are constantly cowering ; hence, when seen abroad, 
instead of appearing to be hardy savages, inured to wet and 
cold, you see wretched creatures shivering at every breeze. I 
never met people so sensible of cold as these Fuegian Indians. 

" The nature of their domestic ties we had no opportunity 
of discovering ; their manner towards their children is affec- 
tionate and caressing. I often witnessed the tenderness with 
which they tried to quiet the alarms our presence at first 
occasioned, and the pleasure which they showed when we 
bestowed upon the little ones any trifling trinkets. It appeared 
that they allow their children to possess property, and con- 
sult their little whims and wishes, with respect to its disposal ; 
for lying in a boat, alongside one of the canoes, bargaining 
for various articles, spears, arrows, baskets, &c., I took a fancy 
to a dog lying near one of the women, and offered a price for 
it; one of my seamen, supposing the bargain concluded, laid 

Feb. 1827. FUEGiAN natives. 77 

hands on the dog, at which the woman set up a dismal yell ; 
so bidding him desist, I increased my offers. She declined to 
part with it, but would give two others. At last, my offers 
became so considerable, that she called a little boy out of the 
thick jungle (into which he had fled at our approach), who 
was the owner of the dog. The goods were shown to him, 
and all his party urged him to sell it, but the little urchin 
would not consent He offered to let me have his necklace, and 
what he received in exchange was put away in his own little 

" These people never evinced any thankfulness for our pre- 
sents. Whatever was offered they ' clutched at,' doubtful of 
getting it, although held out to them ; and when in their own 
hand, it was instantly stowed away, as if they feared it would 
be recalled. 

" I sometimes tried to discover whether they preferred any 
particular colour, and for that purpose held out three strings 
of beads, black, white, and red ; they clutched at all three, in 
their usual manner, without showing any preference. 

" Their pronunciation is exceedingly harsh and guttural ; 
not more than two words, whose signification was at all ascer- 
tained, could be made out, ' sherroo,' a ship, boat, or canoe, 
and ' peteet," a child. They have a wonderful aptitude for 
imitating the sounds of strange languages : let a sentence, of 
even a dozen words, be distinctly pronounced, and they will 
repeat it with the utmost precision. 

" Their only articles of traffic, besides such implements and 
weapons as they use, are seal and otter skins ; and I should say 
that the quantity of peltry to be procured from them would be 
insignificant towards completing the cargo of a sealing vessel." 
During the next few days the Beagle was employed in the 
most exposed, the least known, and the most dangerous part 
of the Strait. Fortunately, she was favoured by weather, and 
effected her purpose without injury or loss ; but I never reflect 
upon this piece of service without an inward tribute of admira- 
tion to the daring, skill, and seamanship of Captain Stokes, 
Lieutenant Skyring, and Mr. Flinn. 


In his journal Captain Stokes says : 

" Incessant rain and thick clouds prevented my completing, 
until this day (19th), the observations necessary for making an 
island, just outside the Harbour of Mercy, the southern end 
of my base, for the trigonometrical connection of the coasts and 
islands near the western entrance of this weather-beaten Strait. 

" On the 20th, I weighed and beat to windward, intending 
to search for anchorage on the north shore, where I might land 
and fix the northern end of our base line. In the eveninsr we 
anchored in an archipelago of islands, the real danger of whose 
vicinity was much increased to the eye by rocks, scattered in 
every direction, and high breakers, occasioned doubtless by 
reefs under water. We observed that most of the larger islands 
have small banks of sand at their eastern sides, on which ancho- 
rage may be found ; but for ordinary purposes of navigation, 
this cluster of islands* need only be pointed out to be avoided. 
The number and contiguity of the rocks, below as well as 
above water, I'ender it a most hazardous place for any square- 
rigged vessel : nothing but the particular duty on which I was 
ordered would have induced me to venture among them. Fore- 
and-aft vessels might work with far less risk ; and as the rocks 
are frequented by vast numbers of fur seal, a season or two 
might be profitably passed here liy a sealing vessel so rigged. 

" This morning (21st) I landed on one of the larger islands, 
with Lieutenant Skyring, and having ascended an eminence 
(Observation Mount) with the necessary instruments, fixed its 
position, and made it the northern end of our base. 

" It was a beautiful, and clear day ; the Isles of Direction 
(or Evangelists), as well as every point of importance on the 
adjacent coast, were seen distinctly during several hours. 

" My next object was to fix the position of Cape Victory, 
and ascertain whether anchoraoe could be found in its neigh- 
bourhood. Accordingly, we weighed early next morning (22d,) 
and after extricating ourselves from this labyrinth (not without 
much difficulty and danger), we beat to the westward. Violent 
squalls, a heavy sea, and thick weather, which came on about 
• Called the Scilly Isles. 


noon, obliged )Tie to choose the least evil, and run for the Har- 
bour of Mercy. 

" On the 23d, we went out again, and beat towards the 
Isles of Direction, off which we passed a night under sail. 

" The morning of the 24th was very fine, and the wind 
moderate. Leaving the Beagle to sound about the Isles of 
Direction, I set out in my boat, with two days' provisions, 
towards Cape Victory, As we rowed along these rocky shores, 
threading the mazes of the labyrinth of islets which fringe 
them, we saw vast numbers of black whales, and the rocks 
were quite covered with fur seal and brant geese. 

" After pulling, in earnest, for six hours, we landed upon 
Cape Victory, the north-western limit of the Strait of Magal- 
haens, and there, with a sextant, artificial horizon, and chrono- 
meter, ascertained the position of this remarkable promontory. 
From an eminence, eight hundred feet above the sea, we had a 
commanding view of the adjacent coasts, as well as of the vast 
Pacific, which enabled us to rectify former material errors. 
Late in the evening we were fortunate enough to get safely on 
board again, which, considering the usual weather here and the 
heavy sea, was unexpected success. This night was passed 
vmder sail in the Pacific, and next morning we commenced our 
return to Port Famine. 

" When within four or five miles of Cape Pillar, and to the 
westward of it, a current was found to set southward, at about 
two knots an hour. As we neared the Cape the wind fell, and 
the Beagle was set rapidly towards those dangerous rocks, 
called the Apostles. Fortunately, a commanding breeze sprung 
up, and we extricated ourselves from the difficulty. While 
passing Cape Pillar, I landed in a cove near it, and deter- 
mined its position. By sunset we had arrived near the Harbour 
of Mercy ; and being becalmed, towed the ship in, with her 
boats, until an anchor was dropped at the proper place. 

" On the 26th, we went to Tuesday Bay, and on the 27th 
crossed the Strait, and anchored under Cape Parker. I have 
rarely witnessed such a high, cross, and irregular sea as we tliis 
day passed through, near the strange mass of rock, called by 

80 MAGALHAENS'' W. ENTRANCE. Feb. 1827. 

Narborough, 'Westminster Hall.' The coast about our unsafe 
anchorage was as barren and dismal-looking as any part of this 
country, which, as the old navigator above-mentioned said, is 
' so desolate land to behold.' 

" Next day (March 1st) we ran down to Cape Upright, and 
there remained until the 3d, collecting the required data for 
our survey. 

" While standing toAvards the bay called Playa Parda (on 
the 3d), a boat under sail was seen making towards us from the 
southern coast. I fired several guns, to show our position, 
before we became shut in by the land, and soon after anchor- 
ing a whale-boat came alongside, with the second mate and five 
men belonging to the sealing-vessel Prince of Saxe Cobourg. 

" Anxious not to lose a moment in hastening to the relief 
of our shipwrecked countrymen, I ran down next day to Port 
Gallant, and thence proceeded with two ten-oared boats (on 
the 5th) through the Barbara Channel, and the following 
evening reached Fury Harbour." 

Having already given a short account of the Saxe Cobourg's 
loss, and the rescue of her crew by Captain Stokes, I will not 
repeat the story by extracting more from his journal. 

Mr. Graves I'eturned from his cruize in the Hope on the 
17th, after suffering much from stormy weather and incessant 
rain ; but having made a survey of the openings in the land to 
the west of Magdalen Channel as far as the Sugar Loaf Point, 
at the west head of Lyell Sound, which he found to be deep 
inlets, affording no anchorages of value to navigation. 

The time having arrived for our return to Monte Video, 
preparations were made for sailing, and in the mean time I went 
to the nortliward, in the Hope, to survey the coast between 
Port Famine and Elizabeth Island, including Shoal Haven. 

At the bottom of Shoal Haven we were stopped by the 
water shoaling to five feet, so that we were obliged to haul out 
till we could anchor in more than two fathoms. During the 
night the wind shifted to N.E., and blew right in, obliging us 
to weigh, and work under the S.W. end of Elizabeth Island 
into a bay close to that shore. From the summit of the S.W. 

April 1827. hope's cruize. 81 

point I afterwards took angles, among which the most impor- 
tant gave Mount Sarmiento bearing S. 14° W. (true). Its 
distance must have been (by recent observations) ninety-four 

Elizabeth Island is a long, low strip of land, lying parallel 
to the shores of the Strait, which here take a N.N.E. direction. 
Compared with the land to the southward it is very low, no 
part being more than two or three hundred feet high. It is 
composed of narrow ranges of hills, extending in ridges in the 
direction of its length, over which are strewed boulders of the 
various rocks, which have been noticed before as formino- the 
shingle beaches of Point St. Mary and Point St. Anna ; two 
kinds of rock, greenstone and hornblende, being the most 
common. The vallies which divide the hilly ridges wei'e well 
clothed with grass, and in many places were seen hollows, that 
had contained fresh water, but now were entirely dried up. 
These spots were marked by a white crust, apparently caused 
by the saline quality of the soil. 

Geese and wild ducks, and the red-bill (Hcematopus), seem 
to be the only inhabitants of this island. The Indians some- 
times visit it, for at the S.W. end we found remains of wig- 
wams and shell-fish. Perhaps it is a place whence they com- 
municate with the Patagonian natives, or they may in the 
season frequent it for eggs. 

We anchored in Laredo Bay, and visited a lake about a 
mile from the beach, distinguished on the chart by the name 
of Duck Lagoon : it is very extensive, and covered with large 
flights of gulls, ducks, and widgeons. We shot one widgeon, 
which was a most beautiful bird, and of a species we had not 
before seen.* 

Here the country begins to be clothed with the deciduous 
leaved Beech tree (Fagus Antarctica), which is stunted in 
growth, but very convenient for fuel. Though the hardiest 
tree of this region, it is never found of large size, the larger 
trees being the evergreen Beech {Fagus betidoides) . We also 
met with several small plants common to Cape Gregory. One 

• 'Anas Rafflesii,' Zool. Journ., vol. iv., and Tab. Supp., xxix. 
VOL. I. G 

82 PREPARATIONS. ApHl 1827- 

may consider Cape Negro to be the boundary of two countries, 
as entirely different from each other in geological structure and 
appearance, as they are in climate, to which last difference may 
be attributed the dissimilarity of their botanical productions. 

Hence we returned to Port Famine. In our absence, a boat 
from the Beagle had crossed the Strait to Lomas Bay, where 
a party of natives had kindled fires of invitation. 

The weather, since the sun crossed the equator, had been 
unusually fine ; and, with the exception of one day's heavy 
rain, the sky was so clear (the wind being moderate from 
the N.E.) that all the heights were exposed to our view, 
and amongst them Mount Sarmiento stood pre-eminent. 

Our preparations for sailing being nearly completed, the 
Hope was unrigged and hoisted in, and our temporary settle- 
ment on shore abandoned. It consisted of a marquee and 
a large bell tent. In the former was Mr. Harrison (mate), 
who had charge of the party, and of the meteorological 
instruments: the bell tent held the crew. Near them were 
the observatory, a saArpit, and a cooking place, where a 
cheerful fire was always blazing. The carpenter's shop, 
cooper's bench, and armourer's forge had each its place, as 
well as a rope-walk, close to which our rigging was refitted, 
and the sails were repaired. After working-hours the shore 
party roamed about the woods with guns, or at low water 
picked up shell fish,* by which they usually procured a 
fresh meal twice, but always once, a week. Meanwhile the 
ship was kept carefully clean and in order. The officers not 
immediately employed in active duty made excursions with 
their guns ; and although the immediate vicinity of our tents 
was pretty well thinned of game, yet a walk of a few miles 
was always rewarded by ample sport. When opportunities 
offered, some of the men were permitted to amuse themselves 
on shore with their guns, for which many had provided them- 
selves with powder and shot. Every Sunday, after divine 
service, which was performed as regularly as possible under 
our circumstances, such of the ship's company as desired per- 

• Of these a species of mactra(M eduHs Nob.) was most abundant. 

April 1827. RETUKx to moxte vidko. 83 

mission to land obtained it. On one occasion, however, we 
had nearly suffered for this indvdgence, which was conducive 
to the men's health, and seldom abused : for one of them 
having made a fire at a little distance from the tents, the flames 
spread, and the exertions of all hands, for three hours, only 
just prevented it from communicating to the tents. On another 
occasion, two men set out on a shooting excursion, intending 
to cross the river Sedger, against doing which there had been 
no particular orders, as such a proceeding was scarcely contem- 
plated. Having reached the bank near its mouth, and searched 
for a fordable place unsuccessfully, they launched a log of 
wood, and sitting astride, without providing themselves with 
a pole or paddle, pushed off from the shore, supposing it would 
go across; but, on reaching the middle of the stream, it was 
soon carried, by the current, out of the river, into the bay. One 
man, Gilly, seeing that the log was still floating away with the 
ebb tide, plunged in, and just reached the shore south of the 
river, in a very exhausted state; the other, Rix, unable to 
swim, kept his place, and was carried out to sea on a voyage 
that might have been fatal, had he not been seen from the ship, 
and saved by a boat. 

Before leaving Port Famine we hauled one of our boats 
ashore, and left her (as we thought) securely hidden among 
the trees. 

Being now ready to sail, and only waiting for wind, the 
officers of both ships, twenty-seven in number, dined together 
on shore. 



Trees — Leave Port Famine — Patasfonians— Gregory Bay — Bysante — 
Maria — Falkncr's account of the Natives — Indians seen on the bor- 
ders of the Otway Water, in 1829 — Maria visits the Adventure — 
Relig-ious Ceremony — Patagonian Encampment — Tomb of a Child — 
Women's employment — Children — Gratitude of a Native— Size of 
Patagonians — Former accounts of their g;igantic height — Character — 
Articles for barter — Fuegians living with Patagonians — Ships sail — 
Arrive at Monte Video and Rio de Janeiro. 

While detained by northerly winds, the carpenter and a 
party of people were employed in the woods selecting and cut- 
ting down trees to be ready for our next visit. After felling 
thirteen trees, from twenty-four to thirty-six inches in dia- 
meter, eight were found to be rotten at the heart ; but by 
afterwards taking the precaution of boring the trees with an 
augur, while standing, much trouble was saved, and fifteen 
sound sticks of considerable diameter were cut down. We 
found one tree, an evergreen beech, too large for any of our 
saws : it measured twenty-one feet in girth at the base, and 
from the height of six feet to twenty it was seventeen feet in 
circumference ; above this height, three large arms (each from 
thirty to forty inches in diameter), branched off from the trunk. 
It is, perhaps, the very tree described by Byron in his account 
of this place. We only once saw it equalled in size, and that 
was by a prostrate trunk, very much decayed. 

In this interval of fine weather and northerly wind, we had 
the thermometer as high as 58°, and the barometer ranging 
between 29.80 and 30.00 ; but for two days before the wind 
shifted, the alteration was predicted by a gradual descent of the 
mercurial column, and a considerable increase of cold. On the 
7th May, as there was some appearance of a change, we got 
under weigh; but were hardly outside the port, when a northerly 
wind again set in, and prevented our going farther than Fresh- 

May 1827. patagonians — gkegory bay. 85 

water Bay, where we passed the night. At last, on the 8th, 
accompanied by the Beagle, we proceeded on our course with 
a strong south-westerly breeze, which carried us quickly up to 
Cape Negro, when it blew so hard that I anchored off Laredo 
Bay. At this anchorage we certainly felt the air much colder 
and sharper than at Port Famine, arising from our being in 
a more exposed situation, and from the approach of winter, as 
well as from the severe south-west gale which was blowing. 

After the gale had abated, we proceeded with fair weather 
and a light breeze to the Second Narrow, when the wind fell ; 
but the tide being in our favour, we passed rapidly through. 
On a hill near us we observed three or four Patagonian Indians 
standing together, and their horses feeding close to them. 
A fire was soon kindled, to attract our notice, to which signal 
we replied by showing our colours ; and had we not already 
communicated with these people, we should certainly have 
thought them giants, for they " loomed very large" as they 
stood on the summit of the hill. This optical deception must 
doubtless have been caused by mirage : the haze has always 
been observed to be very great during fine weather and a hot 
day, arising from rapid evaporation of the moisture so abun- 
dantly deposited, on the surface of the ground, in all parts of 
the Strait. 

As soon as the Patagonians found they were noticed, they 
mounted and rode along the shore abreast of us, being joined 
by other parties, until the whole number could not have been 
less than forty. Several foals and dogs were with them. Havmg 
anchored in Gregory Bay, where I intended remaining for two 
days to communicate with them, I sent up a rocket, burnt a 
blue-light, and despatched Lieutenant Cooke on shore to ask 
for a large supply of guanaco meat, for which we would pay 
in knives and beads. The boat returned on board immediately, 
bringine off four natives, three men and ' Maria.' This 
rather remarkable woman must have been, judging by her 
appearance, about forty years old : she is said to have been 
born at Assuncion, in Paraguay, but I think the place of her 
birth was nearer Buenos Ayres. She spoke broken, but intel- 

Sf:) BYZANTE — MAUiA. May 1827. 

ligible, Spanish, and stated herself to be sister of Bysante, the 
cacique of a tribe near the Santa Cruz River, who is an impor- 
tant personage, on account of his size (which Maria described 
to be immense), and his riches. In speaking of him, she said 
he was very rich ; he had many mantles, and also many hides 
(" muy rico, tiene muchas mantas y tambien muchos cueros"). 
One of Maria's companions, a brother of Bysante, was the 
tallest and largest man of this tribe ; and though he only 
measured six feet in height, his body was large enough for a 
much taller man. He was in great affliction : his daughter 
had died only two days before our arrival ; but, notwithstand- 
ing his sad story, which soon found him friends, it was not 
long before he became quite intoxicated, and began to sing 
and roar on the subject of his misfortunes, with a sound more 
like the bellowing of a bull than the voice of a human being. 
Upon applying to Maria, who was not quite so tipsy as her 
brother, to prevent him from making such hideous noises, she 
laughed and said, " Oh, never mind, he's drunk ; poor fellow, 
liis daughter is dead" (Es boracho, povrecito, murio su hija) ; 
and then, assuming a serious tone, she looked towards the sky, 
and muttered in her own language a sort of prayer or invoca- 
tion to their chief demon, or ruling spirit, whom Pigafetta, the 
companion and historian of Magalhaens, called Setebos, which 
Admiral Burney supposes to have been the original of one of 
Shakspeare's names in the " Tempest" — 

" his art is of such power 

He would controul my dam's god Setebos."* 

Maria's dress was similar to that of other females of the 
tribe ; but she wore ear-rings, made of medals stamped with a 
figure of the Virgin Mary, which, with the brass-pin that 
secured her mantle across her breast, were given to her by one 
Lewis, who had passed by in an American sealing-vessel, and 
who, we understood from her, had made them " Christians." 
'I'he Jesuit Falkner, who lived among them for many years, 
has written a long and, apparently, a very authentic account 

* Burnev, i. 35 and 37. 

May 1827. falkner's account. 87 

of the inhabitants of the countries south of the River Plata, 
and he describes those who inhabit the borders of the Strait 
and sea-coast to be, " Yacana-cunnees, which signifies foot- 
people, for they have no horses in their country ; to the north 
they border on the Sehuau-cunnees, to the west on the Key- 
yus, or Key-yuhues, from whom they are divided by a ridge 
of mountains ; to the east they are bovmded by the ocean ; 
and to the south by the islands of Tierra del Fuego, or the 
South Sea. These Indians live near the sea on both sides of 
the Strait, and often make war with one another. They make 
use of light floats, like those of Childe, in order to pass the 
Straits, and are sometimes attacked by the Huilliches and other 
Tehuelhets, who carry them away for slaves, as they have 
nothing to lose but their liberty and their Uves. They subsist 
chiefly on fish, which they catch either by diving, or striking 
them with their darts. They are very nimble afoot, and catch 
guanacoes and ostriches with their bowls. Their stature is 
much the same as that of the other Tehuelhets, rarely exceed- 
ing seven feet, and oftentimes not six feet. I'hey are an inno- 
cent, harmless people." * 

To the north of this race, Falkner describes " the Sehuau- 
cunnees, the most southern Indians who travel on horseback ; 
Sehuau signifies in the Tehuel dialect a species of black rab- 
bit, about the size of a field rat ; and as their country abounds 
in these animals, their name may be derived from thence : 
cunnee signifying ' people.' " 

With the exception of their mode of killing the guanaco by 
bowls, or balls, the description of the Key-yus would apply 
better to the Fuegian Indians ; and if so, they have been 
driven across the Strait, and confined to the Fuegian shores by 
the Sehuau-cunnees, who must be no other than Maria's tribe. 
The Key-yus, who are described to inhabit the northern shore 
of the Strait, between Peckett's Harbour and Madre de Dios, 
are probably the tribe found about the south-western islands, 
and now called Alikhoolip ; whilst the eastern Fuegians, or 
Yacana-cunnees, who have also been turned off" the conti- 
* Falkner's Patag-onia, pp. 110, 111. 


nent by their powerful neighbours, are now called Tekeenikas. 
Our knowledge of the names of these two tribes, Alikhoolip 
and Tekeenika, results from Captain Fitz-Roy's subsequent 
examination of the outer coast of Tierra del Fuego in the 
Beagle (1830). A Cacique, belonging to the nation of the 
Key-yus, told Falkner that he had been in a house made of 
wood, that travelled on the water. A party of the Indians, in 
four canoes, were met on the borders of the Otway Water by 
Captain Fitz-Roy in 1839, whose arms, implements, and every 
thing they had, were precisely like the Fuegian Indians, 
excepting that they had a quiver made from the skin of a deer, 
and were in form a superior race, being both stronger and 

For want of better information upon the subject, we must 
be content to separate the natives into Patagonians and Fue- 
gians. The sealing vessels' crews distinguish them as Horse 
Indians, and Canoe Indians. 

These people have had considerable communication with 
the sealers who frequent this neighbourhood, bartering their 
guanaco skins and meat, their mantles, and furs, for beads, 
knives, brass ornaments, and other articles ; but they are 
equally anxious to get sugar, flour, and, more than all, " aqua 
ardiente," or spirits. Upon the arrival of a boat from any 
vessel, Maria, with as many as she can persuade the boat's 
crew to take, goes on board, and, if permitted, passes the 
night. As soon as our boat landed, Maria and her friends 
took their seats as if it had been sent purposely for them. Not 
expecting such a visit, I had given no order to the contrary, 
and the novelty of such companions overcame the scruples of 
the officer, who was sent on shore to communicate with them. 
Their noisy behaviour becoming disagreeable, they were soon 
conducted from below to the deck, where they passed the 
night. Maria slept with her head on the windlass ; and was so 
intoxicated, that the noise and concussion produced by veering 
eighty fathoms of cable round it did not awake her. The 
following morning, whilst I was at breakfast, she very uncere- 
moniously introduced herself, witli one of her companions, and 

May 1827. maria's visit and conduct. 89 

seating herself at table, asked for tea and bread, and made a 
hearty meal. I took the precaution of having all the knives, 
and articles that I thought likely to be stolen, removed from 
the table ; but neither then, nor at any time, did I detect 
Maria in trying to steal, although her companions never lost 
an opportunity of pilfering. 

After breakfast the Indians were landed, and as many of 
the officers as could be spared went on shore, and passed the 
whole day Avith the tribe, during which a very active trade was 
carried on. There were about one hundred and twenty Indians 
collected together, with horses and dogs. It is probable that, 
with the exception of five or six individuals left to take care 
of the encampment, and such as were absent on hunting excur- 
-sions, the whole of the tribe was mustered on the beach, each 
family in a separate knot, with all their riches displayed to tlie 
best advantage for sale. 

I accompanied Maria to the shore. On landing, she con- 
ducted me to the place where her family were seated round 
their property. They consisted of Manuel, her husband, and 
three children, the eldest being known by the appellation of 
Capitan Chico, or " little chief."" A skin being spread out for 
me to sit on, the family and the greater part of the tribe col- 
lected around. Maria then presented me with several mantles 
and skins, for which I gave in return a sword, remnants of 
red baize, knives, scissors, looking-glasses, and beads : of the 
latter I afterwards distributed bunches to all the children, a 
present which caused evident satisfaction to the mothers, many 
of whom also obtained a share. The receivers were selected 
by Maria, who directed me to the youngest children first, then 
to the elder ones, and lastly to the girls and women. It was 
curious and amusing, to witness the order with which this 
scene was conducted, and the remarkable patience of the chil- 
dren, who, with the greatest anxiety to possess their trinkets, 
neither opened their lips, nor held out a hand, until she pointed 
to them in succession. 

Having told Maria that I had more things to dispose of for 
guanaco meat she dismissed the tribe from around me, and, 

VOL. I. 


saying she was going for meat (carne), mounted her horse, 
and rode off at a brisk pace. Upon her departure a most 
active trade commenced : at first, a mantle was purchased for 
a string of beads ; but as the demand increased, so the Indians 
increased their price, till it rose to a knife, then to tobacco, 
then to a sword, at last nothing would satisfy them but ' aqua 
ardiente,' for which they asked repeatedly, saying " bueno es 
boracho— bueno es — bueno es boracho ; "* — but I would not 
permit spirits to be brought on shore. 

At Maria's return with a very small quantity of guanaco 
meat, her husband told her that I had been very inquisitive 
about a red baize bundle, which he told me contained " Cristo," 
ujDon which she said to me " Quiere mirar mi Cristo" (do you 
wish to see my Clirist), and then, upon my nodding assent, 
called around her a number of the tribe, who immediately 
obeyed her summons. Many of the women, however, remained 
to take care of their valuables. A ceremony then took place. 
Maria, who, by the lead she took in the proceedings, appeared 
to be high priestessf as well as cacique of the tribe, began by 
pulverising some whitish earth in the hollow of her hand, and 
then taking a mouthful of water, spit from time to time upon 
it, until she had formed a sort of pigment, which she distri- 
buted to the rest, reserving only sufficient to mark her face, 
eyelids, arms, and hair with the figure of the cross. The 
manner in which this was done was peculiar. After rubbing 
the paint in her left hand smooth with the palm of the right, 
she scored marks across the paint, and again others at right 
angles, leaving the impression of as many crosses, which she 

* It is good to he drunk, it is pleasant to be drunk. 

+ Two Portuguese seamen, however, who had resided some months with 
them, having- been left behind by a sealing vessel, and taken off by us at a 
subsequent period of the voyage at their own request, informed us that 
Maria is not the leader of religious ceremonies. Each family possesses its 
own household god, a small wooden image, about three inches in length, 
the rough imitation of a man's head and shoulders, which they consider 
as the representative of a superior being, attributing to it all the good or 
evil that happens to them. 

May 18^7. religious ceremony, 01 

stamped upon different parts of fier body, rubbing tlie paint, 
and marking tlie crosses afresh, after every stamp was made. 

Tlie men, after having marked themselves in a similar man- 
ner (to do which some stripped to the waist and covered all 
their body with impressions), proceeded to do the same to the 
boys, who were not permitted to perform this part of the 
ceremony themselves. Manuel, Maria's husband, who seemed 
to be her chief assistant on the occasion, then took from the 
folds of the sacred wrapper an awl, and with it pierced either 
the arms or ears of all the party ; each of whom presented in 
turn, pinched up between the finger and thumb, that portion 
of flesh which was to be perforated. The object evidently 
was to lose blood, and those from whom the blood flowed 
freely showed marks of satisfaction, while some whose wounds 
bled but little underwent the operation a second time. • 

When Manuel had finished, he gave the awl to Maria, Avho 
pierced his arm, and then, with great solemnity and care, mut- 
tering and talking to herself in Spanish (not two words of 
which could I catch, although I knelt down close to her and 
listened with the greatest attention), she removed two or three 
wrappers, and exposed to our view a small figure, carved in 
wood, representing a dead person, stretched out. After ex- 
posing the image, to which all paid the greatest attention, and 
contemplating it for some moments in silence, Maria began to 
descant upon the virtues of her Christ, telling us it had a good 
heart ('bucn corazon'), and that it was very fond of tobacco. 
" Mucho quiere mi Cristo tabaco, da me mas," (my Christ 
loves tobacco very much, give me some). Such an appeal, on 
such an occasion, I could not refuse ; and after agreeing with 
her in praise of the figure, I said I would send on board for 
some. Having gained her point, she began to talk to herself 
for some minutes, during which she looked up, after repeating 
the words " muy bueno es mi Cristo, muy bueno corazon 
tiene," and slowly and solemnly packed up the figure, deposit- 
ing it in the place Avhence it had been taken. This ceremony 
ended, the traffic, which had been suspended, recommenced 
with redoubled activity. 


According to my promise, I sent on board for some tobacco, 
and my servant brought a larger quantity than I thought 
necessary for the occasion, which he injudiciously exposed to 
view. Maria, having seen the treasure, made up her mind to 
have the whole, and upon my selecting three or four pounds of 
it, and presenting them to her, looked very much disappointed, 
and grumbled forth her discontent : I taxed her with greedi- 
ness, and spoke rather sharply, which had a good effect, for 
she went away and returned with a guanaco mantle, which 
she presented to me. 

During this day*'s barter we procured guanaco meat, suffi- 
cient for two days' supply of all hands, for a few pounds of 
tobacco. It had been killed in the morning, and was brought 
on horseback cut up into large pieces, for each of which we 
had to bargain. Directly an animal is killed, it is skinned and 
cut up, or torn asunder, for the convenience of carrying. The 
operation is done in haste, and therefore the meat looks bad ; 
but it is well tasted, excellent food, and although never fat, 
yields abundance of gravy, which compensates for its leanness. 
It improves very much by keeping, and proved to be valuable 
and wholesome meat. 

Captain Stokes, and several of the officers, upon our first 
reaching the beach, had obtained horses, and rode to their 
' toldos,' or principal encampment. On their return, I learned 
that, at a short distance from the dwellings, they had seen the 
tomb of the child who had lately died. As soon, therefore, as 
Maria returned, I procured a horse from her, and, accompa- 
nied by her husband and brother, the father of the deceased, 
and herself, visited these toldos, situated in a valley extending 
north and south between two ridges of hills, through which ran 
a stream, faUing into the Strait within the Second Narrow, 
about a mile to the westward of Cape Gregory. 

We found eight or ten huts arranged in a row ; the sides 
and backs were covered with skins, but the fronts, which faced 
the east, were open ; even these, however, were very much 
screened from wind by the ridge of hills eastward of the 
plain. Near them the ground was rather bare, but a little 

May 1827. ' toldos ' — tomb. 03 

farthei- back there was a luxuriant growth of grass, afTorJing 
rich and plentiful pasture for the horses, among which we 
observed several mares in foal, and colts feeding and friskino- 
by the side of their dams : the scene was lively and pleasing, 
and, for the moment, reminded me of distant climes, and days 
gone by. 

The ' toldos' are all alike. In form they are rectangular, 
about ten or twelve feet long, ten deep, seven feet hio-h in 
front, and six feet in the rear. The frame of the buildino- is 
formed by poles stuck in the ground, having forked tops to 
hold cross pieces, on which are laid poles for rafters, to sup- 
port the covering, which is made of skins of animals sewn 
together so as to be almost impervious to rain or wind. The 
posts and rafters, which are not easily procured, are carried 
from place to place in all their travelhng excursions. Having 
reached their bivouac, and marked out a place with due regard 
to shelter from the wind, they dig holes with an iron bar or 
piece of pointed hard wood, to receive the posts ; and all the 
frame and cover being ready, it takes but a short time to erect 
a dwelling. Their goods and furniture are placed on horse- 
back under the charge of the females, who are mounted aloft 
upon them. The men carry nothing but the lasso and bolas, to 
be ready for the capture of animals, or for defence. 

Maria's toldo was nearly in the middle, and next to it was 
her brother's. All the huts seemed well stored with skins and 
provisions, the former being rolled up and placed at the back, 
and the latter suspended from the supporters of the roof; the 
greater part was in that state well known in South America 
by the name of charque (jerked beef) ; but this was princi- 
pally horse-flesh, which these people esteem superior to other 
food. The fresh meat was almost all guanaco. The only 
vessels they use for carrying water are bladders, and suffi- 
ciently disagreeable substitutes for drinking utensils they 
make: the Fuegian basket, although sometimes dirty, is less 

About two hundred yards from the village the tomb was 
erected, to which, while Maria was arranging her skins and 

Qi TOMB — WOMEN. May 1827. 

mantles for sale, tlie father of the deceased conducted rae and 
a few other officers. 

It was a conical pile of dried twigs and branches of bushes, 
about ten feet high and twenty-five in circumference at the 
base, the whole bound round with thongs of hide, and the top 
covered with a piece of red cloth, ornamented with brass studs, 
and surmounted by two poles, bearing red flags and a string 
of bells, which, moved by the wind, kept up a continual 

A ditch, about two feet wide and one foot deep, was dug 
round the tomb, except at the entrance, which had been filled 
up with bushes. In front of this entrance stood the stuffed 
skins of two horses, recently killed, each placed upon four poles 
for legs. The horses'' heads were ornamented with brass studs, 
similar to those on the top of the tomb ; and on the outer 
margin of the ditch were six pqles, each carrying two flags, 
one over the other. 

The father, who wept much when he visited the tomb, w ith 
the party of officers who first went with him, although now 
evidently distressed, entered into, what we supposed to be, 
a long account of the illness of his child, and explained to us 
that her death was caused by a bad cough. No watch was 
kept over the tomb ; but it was in sight of, and not very far 
from their toldos, so that the approach of any one could imme- 
diately be known. They evidently placed extreme confidence 
in us, and therefore it would have been as unjust as impolitic 
to attempt an examination of its contents, or to ascertain what 
had been done with the body. 

The Patagonian women are treated far more kindly by their 
husbands than the Fuegian ; who are little better than slaves, 
subject to be beaten, and obliged to perform all the laborious 
offices of the family. The Patagonian females sit at home, 
grinding paint, drying and stretching skins, making and paint- 
ing mantles. In travelling, however, they have the baggage 
and provisions in their charge, and, of course, their children. 
These women probably have employments of a more laborious 
nature than what we saw : but they cannot be compared with 



May 1827. children — gratitude. 95 

those of the Fuegians, wlio, excepting in the fight and chace, 
do every thing. They paddle the canoes, dive for shells and 
sea-eggs, build their wigwams, and keep up the fire ; and if 
they neglect any of these duties, or incur the displeasure of their 
husbands in any way, they are sti'uck or kicked most severely. 
Byron, in his narrative of the loss of the Wager, describes the 
brutal conduct of one of these Indians, who actually killed his 
child for a most trifling offence. The Patagonians are devot- 
edly attached to their off'spring. In infancy they are carried 
behind the saddle of the mother, within a sort of cradle, in 
which they are securely fixed. The cradle is made of wicker- 
work, about four feet long and one foot wide, roofed over with 
twigs like the frame of a tilted waggon. The child is swad- 
dled up in skins, with the fur inwards or outwards according 
to the weather. At night, or when it rains, the cradle is 
covered with a skin that effectually keeps out the cold or rain. 
Seeing one of these cradles near a woman, I began to make a 
sketch of it, upon which the mother called the father, who 
watched me most attentively, and held the cradle in the posi- 
tion which I considered most advantageous for my sketch. 
The completion of the drawing gave them both great pleasure, 
and during the afternoon the father reminded me repeatedly 
of having painted his child (" pintado su hijo.") 

One circumstance deserves to be noticed, as a proof of their 
good feeling towards us. It will be recollected that three 
Indians, of the party with whom we first communicated, accom- 
panied us as far as Cape Negro, where they landed. Upon our 
arrival on this occasion, I was met, on landing, by one of them, 
who asked for my son, to whom they had taken a great fancy ; 
upon my saying he was on board, the native presented me with 
a bunch of nine ostrich feathers, and then gave a similar pre- 
sent to every one in the boat. He still carried a large quantity 
under his arm, tied up in bunches, containing nine feathers 
in each ; and soon afterwards, when a boat from the Beagle 
landed with Captain Stokes and others, he went to meet them ; 
but finding strangers, he Avithdrew without making them any 


In tlie evening my son landed, when the same Indian came 
down to meet him, appeared delighted to see him, and pre- 
sented him with a bunch of feathers, of the same size as those 
which he had distributed in the morning. At this, our second 
visit, there were about fifty Patagonian men assembled, n<^t 
one of whom looked more than fifty-five years of age. They 
were generally between five feet ten and six feet in height : 
one man only exceeded six feet — whose dimensions, measured 

by Captain Stokes, were as follows : — 

ft, in. 

Height 6 If 

Round the chest 4 Ij 

Do. loins 3 4 


I bad before remarked the disproportionate largeness of 
head, and length of body of these people, as compared with the 
diminutive size of their extremities ; and, on this visit, my 
opinion was further confirmed, for such appeared to be the 
general character of the whole tribe ; and to this, perhaps, may 
be attributed the mistakes of some former navigators. Magal- 
haens, or rather Pigafetta, was the first who described the 
inhabitants of the southern extremity of America as giants. 
He met some at Port San Julian, of whom one is described 
to be " so tall, that our heads scarcely came up to his waist, 
and his voice was like that of a bull." Herrera,* however, 
gives a less extravagant account of them : he says, " the least 
of the men was larger and taller than the stoutest man of 
Castile;" and Maxim. Transylvanus says they were "in height 
ten palms or spans ; or seven feet six inches." 

In Loyasa's voyage (1526), Herrera mentions an interview 
with the natives, who came in two canoes, " the sides of which 
were formed of the ribs of whales." The people in them were 
of large size " some called them giants ; but there is so little 
conformity between the accounts given concerning them, that 
I shall be silent on the subject."-|- 

As Loyasa's voyage was undertaken immediately after the 
return of Magalhaens' expedition, it is probable that, from the 

• Burney, i. p. 33. t Ibid, p. 135. 


impressions received from Pigafetta's narrative, many thought 
the Indians whom they met must be giants, whilst others, not 
finding them so large as they expected, spoke more cautiously 
on the subject ; but the people seen by them must have been 
Fuegians, and not those whom we now recognise by the name 
of Patagonians. 

Sir Francis Drake's fleet put into Port San Julian, where 
they found natives ' of large statvire ;' and the author of the 
' World Encompassed,'' in which the above voyage is detailed, 
speaking of their size and height, supposes the name given 
them to have been Pentagones, to denote a stature of " five 
cubits, viz. seven feet and a half,"" and remarks that it described 
the full height, if not somewhat more, of the tallest of them.* 
Tliey spoke of the Indians whom they met within the Strait 
as small in stature.-f- 

The next navigator who passed through the Strait was 
Sarmiento; whose narrative says little in proof of the very 
superior size of the Patagonians. He merely calls them " Gente 
Grande,"! ^"^ "" ^^^ Gigantes ;" but this might have originated 
from the account of Magalhaens" voyage. He particularises 
but one Indian, whom they made prisoner, and only says " his 
limbs are of large size :'" (" Es crecido de miembros."') This 
man was a native of the land near Cape Monmouth, and, 
therefore, a Fuegian. Sarmiento was afterwards in the neigh- 
bourhood of Gregory Bay, and had an encounter with the 
Indians, in which he and others were wounded ; but he does 
not speak of them as being unusually tall. 

After the establishment, called ' Jesus,' was formed by 
Sarmiento, in the very spot where ' giants ' had been seen, no 
people of large stature are mentioned, in the account of the 
colony ; but Tome Hernandez, when examined before the 
Vice- Roy of Peru, stated, " that the Indians of the plains, who 
are giants, communicate with the natives of Tierra del Fuego, 
who are like them.§ 

Anthony Knyvet's account |1 of Cavendish's second voyage 

• Burney, i. ,318. t Ibid, i. 324. + Sarmiento, p. 244. 

§ Sarmicnto's Appendix, xxix. || Purchas, iv. ch. 6 and 7- 

VOL. I. H 


(which is contained in Purchas), is not considered credible. He 
describes the Patagonians to be fifteen or sixteen spans in height ; 
and that of these cannibals, there came to them at one time 
above a thousand ! The Indians at Port Famine, in the same 
narrative, are mentioned as a kind of strange cannibals, short 
of body, not above five or six spans high, very strong, and 
thick made.* 

The natives, who were so inhumanly murdered by Oliver 
Van Noort, on the Island of Santa Marta (near Elizabeth 
Island), were described to be nearly of the same statui'e as the 
common people in Holland, and were remarked to be broad 
and high-chested. Some captives were taken on board, and one, 
a boy, informed the crew that there was a tribe living farther 
in-land, named ' Tiremenen,' and their territory ' Coin ;' 
that they were " great people, like giants, being from ten to 
twelve feet high, and that they came to make war against 
the other tribes,-f- whorn they reproached for being eaters of 
ostriches .'"J 

Spilbergen (1615) says he " saw a man of extraordinary 
stature, who kept on the higher grounds to observe the ships ; 
and on an island, near the entrance of the Strait, were found 
the dead bodies of two natives, wrapped in the skins of pen- 
guins, and very lightly covered with earth ; one of them was 
of the common human stature, the other, the journal says, 
was two feet and a half longer.! The gigantic appearance of 
the man on the hills may perhaps be explained by the optical 
deception we ourselves experienced. 

Le Maire and Schouten, whose accounts of the graves of 
the Patagonians agree precisely with what we noticed at Sea 
Bear Bay, of the body being laid on the ground covered with 

* Bumey, ii. p. 106. 

t The tribes described by this boy are the 

1. Kemenites, inhabiting a place called Karay. 

2. Kennekas Karamay. 

3. Karaike Morine. 

4. Enoo, the tribe to which the Indians, whom they murdered, 


: Burney, il 215. § Ibid. ii. 334. 


a heap of stones, describe the skeletons as measuring ten or 
eleven feet in length, " the skulls of which we could put on our 
heads in the manner of helmets ! " 

The Nodales did not see any people on the northern side of 
the Strait ; those with whom they communicated were natives 
of Tierra del Fuego, of whose form no particular notice is 

Sir John Narhorough saw Indians at Port San Julian, and 
describes them as " people of a middling stature : well-shaped. 
* * * Mr. Wood was taller than any of them.'" He also 
had an interview with nineteen natives upon Elizabeth Island, 
but they were Fuegians. 

In the year 1741, Patagonian Indians were seen by Bulkley 
and his companions. They were mounted on horses, or mules, 
which is the first notice we have of their possessing those 

Duclos de Guyot, in the year 1766, had an interview with 
seven Patagonian Indians, who were mounted on horses 
equipped with saddles, bridles, and stirrups. The shortest of 
the men measured five feet eleven inches and a quarter English. 
The others were considerably taller. Their chief or leader 
they called ' Capitan.' 

Bougainville, in 1767, landed amongst the Patagonians. Of 
their size he remarks : " They have a fine shape; among those 
whom we saw, not one was below five feet ten inches and a 
quarter (English), nor above six feet two inches and a half in 
height. Their gigantic appearance arises from their pro- 
digiously broad shoulders, the size of their heads, and the 
thickness of all their limbs. They are robust and well fed : 
their nerves are braced and their muscles strong, and sufficiently 
hard, Sec." This is an excellent account ; but how different is 
that of Commodore Byron, who says, " One of them, who 
afterwards appeared to be chief, came towards me ; he was of 
gigantic stature, and seemed to realise the tales of monsters in 
a human shape : he had the skin of some wild beast thrown 
over his shoulders, as a Scotch Highlander wears his plaid, 
and was painted so as to make the most hideous appearance I 

H 2 


ever beheld : round one eye was a large circle of white, a circle 
of black surrounded the other, and the rest of his body was 
streaked with paint of different colours. I did not measure 
him ; but if I may judge of his height by the proportion of 
his stature to my own, it could not be less than seven feet. 
When this frightful colossus came up, we muttered somewhat 
to each other as a salutation, &C.''''* After this he mentions a 
woman •' of most enormous size ;" and again, when Mr. Gum- 
ming, the lieutenant, joined him, the commodore says, " Before 
the song was finished, Mr. Gumming came vip with the tobacco, 
and I could not but smile at the astonishment which I saw 
expressed in his countenance upon perceiving himself, though 
six feet two inches high, become at once a pigmy among giants, 
for these people may, indeed, more properly be called giants 
than tall men : of the few among us who are full six feet high, 
scarcely any are broad and muscular, in proportion to their 
stature, but look rather like men of the common bulk grown 
up accidentally to an unusual height ; and a man who should 
measure only six feet two inches, and equally exceed a stout 
well-set man of the common stature in breadth and muscle, 
would strike us rather as being of a gigantic race, than as an 
individual accidentally anomalous ; our sensations, therefore, 
upon seeing five hundred people, the shortest of whom were 
at least four inches taller, and bulky in proportion, may be 
easily imagined. "-f- 

This account was published only seven years after the 
voyage, and the exaggeration, if any, might have been exposed 
by numbers. There can be no doubt, that among five hundred 
persons several were of a large size; but that all were four 
inches taller than six feet must have been a mistake. The com- 
modore says, that he " caused them all to be seated,"" and 
in that position, from the length of their bodies, they would 
certainly appear to be of very large stature.+ 

• Hawksvvorth's Coll. i 28. f Ibid. 

J See a letter from Mr. Charles Clarke, an officer on board the Dol- 
phin, to Mr. Maly, M.D., secretary of the Royal Society, dated Nov. 3, 
1766, read before the Royal Society on 12th April 17G7, and published in 



Shortly afterwards, Wallis, in the neighbourhood of Cape 
Virgins, communicated with the same people, and as the story 
of the Patagonian giants had been spread abroad, and was 
very much discredited, he carried two measuring rods with 
him ; and says, in his narrative, " We went round and mea- 
sured those that appeared to be the tallest. One was six feet 
seven inches high, several more were six feet five, and six feet 
six inches ; but the stature of the greatest part of them was 
from five feet ten to six feet." 

In the voyage of the Santa Maria de la Cabeza,* 1786, it 
is related that the height of one or two Patagonians, with 
whom the officers had an interview, was six feet eleven inches 
and a half (of Burgos), which is equal to six feet four inches 
and a half (English). This man wore a sword, on which was 
engraved " Por el Rey Carlos III.,'" and spoke a few words 
in Spanish, proofs of his having had communication with some 
of the Spanish settlements. It does not, however, appear from 
the account that there were many others, if any, of that 

Of all the above accounts, I think those by Bougainville and 
Wallis the most accurate. It is true, that of the number we 
saw, none measured more than six feet two inches ; but it is 
possible that the preceding generation may have been a larger 
race of people, for none that we saw could have been alive at 
the time of Wallis''s or Byron's voyage. The oldest certainly 
were the tallest ; but, without discrediting the accounts of 
Byron, or any other of the modern voyagers, I think it pro- 
bable that, by a different mode of Ufe, or a mixture by 
marriage with the southern or Fuegian tribes, which we know 
has taken place, they have degenerated into a smaller race, and 
have lost all right to the title of giants ; yet their bulky, 

the fifty- seventh volume of the Phil. Trans., part i. p. 75, in which an 
exaggerated account is given of this meeting. The men are described to 
be eight feet high, and the women seven and a half to eight feet. " They 
are prodigious stout, and as well and proportionably made as ever I saw 
people in my life." This communication was probably intended to cor- 
roborate the commodore's account. 
* Ultimo Viage, p. 21. 


muscular forms, and length of body, in some measure bear 
out the above accounts; for had the present generation pro- 
portionate limbs, they might, without any exaggeration, justify 
the account of Commodore Byron. The Jesuit Missionary 
Falkner,* who, from an intercourse of forty years with the 
Indians of South America, must be considered as one of the 
best authorities, says, speaking of a Patagonian named Canga- 
pol, " This chief, who was called by the Spaniards the Cacique 
Bravo,-f- was tall and well-proportioned ; he must have been 
seven feet and some inches in height, because on tiptoe I could 
not reach the top of his head : I was very well acquainted 
with him, and went some journeys in his company: I do not 
recollect ever to have seen an Indian that was above an inch 
or two taller than Cangapol. His brother Sausimian was but 
about six feet high. The Patagonians or Puelches are a large- 
bodied people ; but I never heard of that gigantic race which 
others have mentioned, though I have seen persons of all the 
different tribes of the Southern Indians."" 

This is an account in 1746, only twenty years before that of 
Bougainville. Taking all the evidence together, it may be con- 
sidered, that the medium height of the males of these southern 
tribes is about five feet eleven inches. The women are not so tall, 
but are in proportion broader and stouter : they are generally 
plain-featured. The head is long, broad and flat, and the 
forehead low, with the hair growing within an inch of the eye- 
brows, which are bare. The eyes are often placed obliquely, 
and have but little expression, the nose is generally rather flat, 
and turned up ; but we noticed several with that feature 

• Falkner, according to Dean Funes, was originally engaged in the 
slave trade at Buenos Ayres ; but afterwards became a Jesuit, and studied 
in the college at Cordova, where, to an eminent knowledge of medicine, 
he added that of theology. He is the author of a description of Pata- 
gonia, published in London after the expulsion of the Jesuits. — {Ensayo 
de la Historia Civil del Paraguay, Buenos Ayres, y Tucuman, por el 
Doctor Don Gregorio Funes, Hi. p. 23, note. Published at JBuenos Ayres. 
Svo. 1817.) 

t See Dean Funes's account of Buenos Ayres, and of the Indian tribes, 
vol. ii. 394. 


straight, and sometimes aquiline : the mouth is wide, with 
prominent hps, and the chin is rather large ; the jaws are 
broad, and give the face a square appearance ; the neck is 
short and thick ; the shoulders are broad ; the chest is broad, 
and very full ; but the arm, particularly the fore-arm, is small, 
as are also the foot and leg ; the body long, large and fat, but 
not corpulent. Such was the appearance of those who came 
under my observation. 

As to their character, the Patagonians are friendly, without 
that disposition to quarrel, after the novelty of first acquaintance 
has worn off, which is so common among savages in general. 
This probably arises from interested motives, certainly not from 
fear, unless it be the fear of being avoided instead of visited 
by the ships which pass by, and from which they procure 
many useful articles, and many temporary gratifications. 

Swords, long knives, tobacco, Paraguay tea, bits, saddles, 
guns, lead for balls, red cloth, beads (particularly of a sky- 
blue colour), flour, sugar, and spirits, are much desired in 
exchange for their peltry and guanaco meat ; but they have 
no idea beyond that of satisfying the wants of the moment. 

After a few pounds of tobacco had been distributed amongst 
them, although they are very fond of smoking, it became quite 
a drug, and it was necessary to produce something new to excite 
their attention. From Maria''s influence, and the reference 
so constantly made to her, it wovdd seem that she was con- 
sidered as cacique of the tribe ; but her apparent superiority 
may arise from her connexion with Bysante, of whom they all 
spoke as ' El Cacique Grande,'' or from the attention paid to 
her by ships with whom they communicate. 

The people of this tribe seemed to live together harmoniously ; 
no bickerings or jealous feelings were observed, and certainly 
none were expressed by any one of our bulky friends on 
witnessing another receiving a valuable present, or a good 
exchange for his property. 

At sunset our people were ordered to embark, upon which 
the price of Patagonian goods immediately fell, at least, a 
thousand per cent., though many held back in expectation of 


the next day. Maria put into the boat, after my refusal to let 
her go on board to pass the night, two bags, and asked me to 
send her flovu' and sugar. She was most importvmate for aqua 
ardiente, which, however, I refused. Her constant cry was 
" It is very good to be drunk ; I like drinking very much ; 
rum is very good. — Give me some ?" ('Muy bueno es boracho, 
mucho mi gusta, mucho mi gusta de beber, muy bueno es aqua 
ardiente. — Da me no mas .?') 

Among them was a Fuegian Indian ; but it did not appear 
clearly whether he was living with them permanently, or only 
on a visit. Some of us thought we understood the account of 
one of the Patagonians, who seemed to be the most interested 
about him, to be, that a master of a sealer had left him amongst 
them. We knew him instantly by his squalid and compara- 
tively diminutive appearance, and were confirmed in our ideas 
by his recognition of the words ' Hosay ' and Sherroo.' The 
Patagonian name for a ship is ' Carro grande,' and for a boat 
' Carro chico,' a mixture of their own and the Spanish lan- 
guage. All that I could understand of his history was, that he 
was Cacique of some Indian tribes at a distance : he was 
evidently a great favourite, and although Maria spoke generally 
with much contempt of the Fuegian Indians, she had patronised 
this stranger, for he lived in her toldo, and shared all the 
presents that were made to her. 

The following morning it rained hard, and blew so fresh a 
gale, from the westward, that it would have been dangerous to 
send a boat on shore : and I was obliged to weigh without 
landing the things which I had promised. After we were under 
weigh, the weather cleared partially, when we observed Maria 
on the beach, mounted on her white horse, with others watching 
our departure, and when it was evident that we were really 
gone, she rode slowly back to her toldo, no doubt considerably 
vexed. I was very sorry to treat them in this way, for their 
conduct towards us had been open and friendly. All I could 
hope to do, to make amends, was to give something of value 
at my return. 

We steered across the Bay of St. Philip, accompanied by 



the Beagle,* left the Strait of Magalhaens with a fair wind, 
and, after a favourable passage, reached IMonte Video on the 
24th April 1827. "; j^^ 

From Monte Video we went to Rio de Janeiro, to procure 
stores, and prepare for another voyage to the Strait. On our 
arrival I received the Commander-in-chiefs leave to apply to 
the Lord High Admiral for permission to employ a tender, to 
facilitate the surveys of the sounds and deep channels, in the 
neighbourhood of the Strait, and the inner sounds on the west 
coast ; for which, neither the Adventure, nor the Beagle, were 
adapted ; and I thought it best to delay our departure until an 
answer to my application was received. 

» We left Gregory Bay in the morning-, and passed Cape Virgins in 
the evening of the same day. 


Leave Rio de Janeiro — Santos — St. Catherine's — Monte Video — Pur- 
chase the Adelaide schooner, for a Tender to the Adventure — Leave 
IMonte Video — Beagle g'oes to Port Desire — Shoals off Cape Blanco 
— BoJlaco Rock — Cape Virgins — Possession Bay — First Narrow — 
Race— Gregory Bay— View— Tomb — Traffic with Natives — Cordial 
Hieeting — Maria goes on board — Natives intoxicated — Laredo Bay — 
Port Famine. 

We were ready to resume our voyage early in September 
(1827) ; but not having received any communication by the 
packet, from the Admiralty, relative to the purchase of a 
tender, I determined to await the arrival of the next, early in 
October. I was again disappointed, and very reluctantly left 
Rio de Janeiro, on the 16th, for Monte Video ; but that I 
might still benefit by the orders which were sure to be in the 
following packet, I detennined upon calling at Santos, and 
St. Catherine's, for chronometrical observations; leaving the 
Beagle to wait for letters conveying the decision of his Royal 
Highness the Lord High Admiral. 

We reached Santos on the 18th, and staid there until the 
S8th. In this interval I paid a short visit to St. Paul's, for the 
purpose of making barometrical observations.* At St. Cathe- 

• On our passage from Santos to St. Catherine's, in latitude 28° south, 
we caught a 'dolphin' {Coryphena), the maw of which I found filled 
with shells, of Argonauta tuberculosa, and all containing the ' Octopus 
Ocythoe'' that has been always found as its inhabitant. Most of the 
specimens were crushed by the narrow passage into the stomach, but the 
smaller ones were quite perfect, and had been so recently swallowed that 
I was enabled to preserve several of various sizes containing the animal. 
To some of them was attached a nidus of eggs, which was deposited be- 
tween the animal and the spire. The shells varied in size from two-thirds 
of an inch to two and a half inches in length ; each contained an octopus, 
the bulk and shape of which was so completely adapted to that of the 






rine"'s we remained eight days, and during the interval necessary 
for ascertaining the rates of the chronometers, I obtained mag- 
netic observations. 

After a tedious voyage of nineteen days from St. Catherine's, 
I arrived at Monte Video, and tliere received intelbVence that 
the long-wished permission from the Loid High Admiral, to 
procure a tender, bad been obtained. I accordingly purchased 
a schooner, which I named the Adelaide, and appointed Lieu- 
tenant Graves to the command. Five months' additional pro- 
visions for both vessels were purchased, and put into her; and 
on the 23d December, after running up the river to complete 
our water, we sailed out by the southern entrance, passing to 
the westward of the Archimedes' Shoal, and proceeded without 
farther detention to the southward. 

On the 1st of January (in latitude 43° 17' and long. 61° 9'), 
I was informed that we were close to a rock. Upon going on 
deck, I saw the object ; but in a very short time I perceived it 
was a dead whale, upon whose half-pvxtrid body large flocks of 
birds were feeding. Many on board were, however, sceptical, 
until, on passing to leeward, the strong odour testified the fact. 
Its appearance certainly was very like the summit of a dark 
brown rock, covered with weeds and barnacles, and the myriads 
of birds which sun'ounded it added to the deception. It could, 
however, be distinguished by its buoyancy ; for the water did 
not break over it, as of course it would have done had it 
been a fixed body. Such is probably the origin of half the 
' vigias' that are found on the charts. Whales, when struck 
by the fishers, frequently escape and perish ; the carcass then 
floats on the surface of the sea, until decomposed or eaten 
by birds and fishes. A small vessel striking against such a 
mass, would probably be severely injured; and at night, the 

shell, that it seemed as if the shell increased with the animal's growth. 
When so many learned naturalists have diiFered so materially as to the 
character of the inhabitants of the argonauta, it would be presumption 
in me to express even an opinion ; I therefore merely mention the fact, 
and state that in no one specimen did there appear to be any connexion 
between the animal and the shell. 

108 SHOALS OFF cAPK BLANCO. Jan. 1828. 

body, from its buoyancy and the sea not breaking against it, 
would not be readily seen. 

On the 4th, being about one hundred miles to the N.E. of 
Cape Blanco, I communicated with Captain Stokes, and gave 
him directions to proceed to Port Desire for chronometrical 
observations, and then follow me immediately to Cape Fair- 
weather or Cape Virgins. We had light winds during the 
night, so that the Beagle made very little progress. In the 
afternoon, Cape Blanco, a long level-topped ridge, came in 
sight, of which good views are given in Lord Anson's voyage. 
We steered towards the land, and at six o'clock were in eigh- 
teen fathoms, the rocky hill at the extremity of the Cape 
bearing S. 10° E. thirteen miles ; at seven o'clock, the same 
hill was six miles and a half off, bearing S. 3° E., when we 
observed a line of rippling water, extending from east to as far 
as we could see on the south horizon. The depth was seven- 
teen fathoms, but as we proceeded it gradually decreased to 
twelve and ten, and soon afterwards to seven fathoms, when 
the Beagle was observed to be firing guns ; but whether they 
were intended to warn us of danger, or as signals of her own 
distress, we could not determine, and I hauled to the wind to 
cross where the ripple appeared least violent. In passing 
through it we had not less than seven fathoms, and then it 
deepened to twelve and fifteen fathoms. We had now leisure to 
attend to the Beagle, and soon saw that her signals were only to 
warn us, for she had resumed her course under a press of sail. 

After steering four miles to the S.E., we again found our- 
selves in the midst of ripplings, in which the water shoaled to 
six fathoms. It being then dark, and not knowing how to 
proceed, we shortened sail and brought to the wind, in order 
that if the ship struck it might be with less force ; but hap- 
pily we passed on without any further decrease of soundings. 
In going through the ripple, the Adelaide, though deeply 
laden, behaved well. 

Commodore Byron passed over these shoals, which he describes 
as lying at a greater distance from the shore : it was to avoid 
them that we passed so near the land. 

Jan. 1828. bellaco. — possession bay. 109 

During the follo^ving evening there was a very heavy dew, 
the never-failing prognostic of a northerly wind ; the horizon, 
also, was very hazy, and the water perfectly smooth. We were 
not more than ten miles off shore, yet the land was completely 
distorted in appearance by mirage. 

Next morning we were very close to the position assigned to 
the Bellaco, or St. Estevan's Shoal, the existence of which has 
been very much doubted. It was discovered by theNodales, and 
in the diary of their voyage is thus described : " At five o'clock, 
or later in the evening, we discovered a rock a-wash (' una baxa 
que lababa la mar en ella') about five leagues from the shore, 
more or less. It is a very deceitful rock (' Es muy bellaco baxo'), 
because it is under water, over which, in fine weather and 
smooth water, the sea breaks. We sounded near it, and found 
twenty-six fathoms stony bottom. Its latitude is 48i°, accord- 
ing to our noon observation, and the course and distance we 
have since run."* 

The late Don Felipe Bauza, one of the companions of Males- 
pina, informed me, that on the voyage of the Descubierta and 
Atrevida, their boats were sent to look for it, but were unsuc- 

At noon we were in lat. 48° 40' S., long. 66° 6', depth forty- 
two fathoms, but without any signs of the Bellaco. Sailing 
on, the coast was seen in the neighbourhood of Beachy Head (so 
named from its resemblance to the well-known promontory). 
Afterwards, Cape Fair weather came in sight, and on the 
10th Cape Virgins, which we passed in the evening, and, half 
an hour afterwards, rounding Dungeness, we again entered the 
Strait of Magalhaens ; and anchored near the northern 

In Possession Bay we were detained several days, although 
repeated attempts to pass the First Narrow were anxiously 

One evening, clouds gathered, and the weather assumed such 
a threatening appearance, that I expected to be obliged to run 
to sea ; but to our surprise, when the cloudy mass seemed on 

* Nodales, p. 48. 

110 FIRST NARROW — RACE. Jan. 1828. 

the point of bursting over us with a deluge of rain, it suddenly 
vanished, and was succeeded by a beautifully clear and fine 
night. This favourable appearance gave us hopes of being 
able to make good our entrance on the following day ; but a 
fresh gale set in, and kept us at our anchorage. 

Early on the 14th we made another fruitless attempt to pass 
the First Narrow. As the Adelaide sailed under our stem, 
Lieutenant Graves informed me that he had lost an anchor, 
and had only one left, to which he had bent his chain-cable ; 
and that she had shipped so much water in attempting to beat 
through, that he was on the point of asking permission to bear 
up when we ourselves gave up the attempt. It blew too hard 
to give any assistance to the Adelaide, but next morning, 
when the weather was more moderate, I seized an opportunity 
of sending our two kedge anchors ; and in the afternoon we 
supplied her with some water and other necessaries, so that she 
was comparatively well off, and my anxiety on her account 
much relieved. 

Fires on the Fuegian side had been kept up since our arri- 
val, but we could not distinguish any inhabitants; on the 
Patagonian shores we saw a great number of guanacoes feeding 
quietly, a proof of there being no Indians near them. 

On the 16th, the weather appearing favourable, our anchor 
was weighed, and, with the Adelaide, we soon entered the 
sluice of the Narrow, proceeding rapidly, though the wind blew 
hard against us. The tide carried us to an anchorage, about 
four miles beyond the western entrance, and it was slack water 
when the anchor was dropped ; but, no sooner had the stream 
turned, than we found ourselves in the midst of a ' race,' 
and during the whole tide, the Avater broke furiously over the 
ship. At slack water we got underweigh, but the Adelaide 
not being able (from the strength of the tide), to purchase her 
anchor, was obhged to slip the cable : it was fortunate that 
we had supplied her with our kedges, or she would then have 
been without an anchor. The night was tempestuous, and 
although we reached a much quieter birth, the Adelaide drifted 
considerably ; had she remained at the morning's anchorage, 

Jan. 1828. Gregory bay — view. Ill 

in order to save her anchor and cable, we should probably 
never have seen her again. 

The succeeding morning, after a hard beat to windward, 
both vessels anchored in Gregory Bay. No Indians were in 
the neighbourhood, or we should have seen their fires. In the 
afternoon the wind moderated, and as there was every appear- 
ance of fine weather, I remained to survey the coast. 

On the summit of the land, about half a mile northward of 
the extremity of the Cape, while Lieutenant Graves and I were 
taking bearings, and making observations, two guanacoes came 
up and stood neighing at us ; the observation, however, was 
of consequence, and as they were not disturbed, they remained 
watching us for some minutes before they took alarm and 

Lieutenant Wickham and Mr. Tarn made an excursion to 
the summit of the Table Land, previously described as extend- 
ing from the low land behind the Second Narrow to the N.E., 
in the direction of Mount Aymond, and were amply repaid 
for a fatiguing walk, with the thermometer at 81°, by a magni- 
ficent view : Cape Possession to the eastward, and to the south 
the mountains near Mount Tarn, eighty miles distant, were 
plainly distinguished. The view to the westward, stretch- 
ing over a large extent of grassy plains, was bounded by lofty 
ranges of snow-capped mountains; but to the north it was 
intercepted by another summit of the mountain upon which 
they stood. The country they passed over was covered with 
short grass, through which a mass of granite occasionally 
protruded. Neither trees nor shrubs were observed, excepting 
a few herbaceous plants, and the berberis; a goose, some 
ducks, snipe, and plovers were shot ; and guanacoes were seen 
at a distance, but no ostriches, nor did they meet any Indians. 
Large fires were, however, kindled on both shores of the Strait, 
in answer to the fire which they made for cooking. In con- 
sequence of those on the Patagonian coast appearing so close 
to us, we expected a visit from the natives before night, but 
none made their appearance. 

Next morning, Mr. Graves accompanied me in a boat to a 

112 GREGORY BAY — TOMB. Jan. 1828. 

station three miles within the Second Narrow on the north 
side, and in our way we found the geological structure of the 
cliffs to be of a decomposed clay-slate, arranged in strata, much 
distorted by the violent action of the water, and dispersed in 
vertical and inclined directions in very thin laminae. 

These cliffs are about one hundred feet high, the soil a sandy 
alluvium, of a sterile character, scantily covered with a wiry, 
stunted grass, and here and there a berberis bush, loaded with 
ripe fruit, which, from the poverty of the soil, was tasteless 
and dry ; the ground was also, in many parts, over-run to a 
considerable extent with an insipid cranberry, scarcely worth 
the trouble of gathenns:. 

We struck across the country, with the view of examining 
the place where the Indians were residing at our last visit, and 
the tomb which had then been erected. Grass had grown up, 
and effaced the traces of feet ; but the tomb had suffered no 
farther alteration than the weather might have effected. We 
found that the place had been recently visited by the natives, 
for within a few yards of the entrance were strewed the ashes 
of a large fire, containing vestiges of the former decorations of 
the tomb, and the end of one of the flag-staffs, with the unburnt 
corner of one of the banners. Amongst the ashes, also, we 
found calcined bones ; but whether they were human or not, 
we could not ascertain. 

The discovery of the bones impressed us with the idea that 
the body had been burnt, and determined me to examine the 
tomb. The bushes that filled up the entrance appeared to be 
placed exactly as when we first saw them, and indeed the whole 
pile seemed to have remained quite undisturbed ; but there was 
no appearance of the brass ornaments, or of the effigies of the 

Having effected an opening in the bushes, we found an 
inner covering, made of horse-skins. Having cut two holes 
opposite each other, for the admission of light, we saw nothing 
but two parallel rows of stones, tlu'ee in each row, probably 
intended as a bier for the body or a covering for the grave ; 
but the ground around and between them bore no appearance 

Jan. 1828. traffic with natives. 113 

of having been disturbed for burial.* As we hourly expected 
the Indians would arrive (the place being in the direct line of 
their journey to the ships), and were unwilling to let them 
know we had disturbed the sanctuaries of their dead, Ave restored 
the former appearance of the tomb ; and it was fortunate we 
did so, for three women on horseback, carrying their children 
in cradles, with a quantity of skins, provisions, and other 
merchandise, evidently the harbingers of the tribe, made their 
appearance, and immediately began to erect their tents. 

When we next went on shore we found several Indians 
arrived, and divided into three groups, with mantles, ostrich- 
feathers, skins, and joints of guanaco meat displayed for sale. 

As the meat appeared fresh, it is probable that, on seeing 
us, the women were despatched to place the toldos, while the 
men set out to provide guanaco meat, for they knew our par- 
tiality for this excellent food. When we landed, an active 
barter began. 

From the haste and avidity shown in offering their goods, 
and closing the bargains, it seemed as if they were anxious 
to monopolize our articles of barter before the rest of their 
party, or tribe arrived. One old man attempted to cheat ; but 
my interdiction of all farther traffic with him brought him to 
a sense of his error, and I then made him a present of some 
tobacco and allowed him to trade, which he afterwards did, 
with cheerfulness and honesty. 

One of the party was the Fuegian chief, whom I previously 
noticed, as a squalid, meagre-looking man ; but he was now 
enlarged to Patagonian dimensions, by his improved diet and 
more cheerful mode of life. The appearance of bad weather 
obliged us to suspend the barter and get on board. After we 
had reached the ship, successive parties of the tribe arrived, 

* Falkner says, in his account of the burial ceremonies of the southern 
Patagonians — that, after a certain interval, the bodies are taken out of 
the tomb, and skeletons are made of them by the women — the flesh and 
entrails having- been burnt. It is possible that in this case the body had 
been so treated, and that the fire near it was for the purpose of burning 
the flesh, and perhaps with it all the flags and ornaments of the tomb. 

VOL. I. I 

114 CORDIAL MEETING. Jan. 1828. 

and formed the encampment. Among them, mounted on hei* 
white horse, was Maria, wlio, duly escorted, paraded on the 
beach to challenge our recognition. In the centre of the 
encampment, a large flag suspended from a pole was a signal 
to us, and showed the position of her toldo. 

The next morning being fine, we landed near the encamp- 
ment, and were most cordially received. Maria was parti- 
cularly attentive, and embraced me closely, while her compa- 
nions chaunted in chorus a song- of delight at our arrival. 

When we reached her toldo, a mat was spread out for 
me to sit on. Maria and her family placed themselves in front 
of me, while the rest sat round. Almost the first question was 
an inquiry for my son Philip, whom they called Felipe,* and 
two or three skins were given to me for him. They then asked 
for our pilot on the former voyage, and were much disap- 
pointed to find he had left the ship. After a short conversation 
I returned the two bags (which I had so unwillingly carried 
away at our last visit), having filled them with flour and 
sugar, and then proceeded to deliver our presents. As each 
article was delivered into her hands, she repeated, in Spanish, 
" I'll pay for this ;" but upon a bit for her horse being pre- 
sented, a general burst of admiration followed, and it was 
handed round the tents, whilst each individual, as it passed on, 
looked, I thought, anxious to be its possessor. 

Maria then began to consider what adequate requital she 
could possibly make me. The result was, a present of two 
mantles, one new, of guanaco skin, and the other well worn, 
of zorillo skin, besides two or three skins of the puma. She 
then produced a piece of paper, carefully wrapped up in canvas, 
containing a letter, or memorandum, left by Mr. Low, master 
of the Uxbridge sealer, addressed to any shipmaster passing- 
through the Strait, apprising him " of the friendly disposition 
of the Indians, and impressing him with the necessity of treat- 
ing them Avell, and not deceiving them ; for they had good 
memories, and would seriously resent it."" 

The advice, no doubt, was good ; but I think the fear of 
* He was a oreat favouiite witli thein. 

Jan. 1828. maria goes on board. 115 

forfeitin£>- advantages and comforts to be derived from traffic 
would induce them to restrain their resentment. 

I brought no spirits ; for which, after a short time, Maria 
asked, complaining that she was very ill, and had sore eyes, 
and for some time past had nothing but water to drink, and 
wood to smoke. Her illness was evidently assumed, but her 
eyes seemed highly inflamed ; and no wonder, for the upper 
part of her face was smeared over wdth an ochrous red pig- 
ment, even to the very edge of her eyelids : indeed, the whole 
tribe had ornamented themselves similarly, in compliment, I 
suppose, to our visit. 

As I prepared to return on board, Maria's importunity 
induced me to allow her to accompany me ; upon which she 
began to muster up all her empty bags, old mantles, and skins, 
and, attended by her husband, her brother-in-law, his wife and 
daughter, got into the boat. While going on board, the spray 
washed the painted countenances of our visitors, much to their 

Upon reaching the ship, I ordered them to be regaled with 
meat and biscuit, of which they partook very sparingly, but 
took care to put what remained into their bags. Some spirits 
and water, too, which I thought would be soon dispatched, 
and which had been plentifully diluted to prevent their being 
made tipsy, they emptied into bottles to take on shore " for 
the evening,''"' when, as Maria said, they would be " very 

Among various things shown to amuse them was a musical 
snuff-box, which I had procured for the express purpose of 
exciting their astonishment ; but I was surprised to find, that 
a penny-whistle produced a ten-fold greater effect upon their 
senses. This indiflerence to mvisical sounds I should not have 
suspected, because they frequently sing, thovigh certainly in a 
monotonous manner. 

As soon as their repast was concluded, the party, except 
Maria and the girls, commenced bartering their mantles and 
skins, and, by the time their stock was expended, they had 
amassed a large quantity of biscuit, and a bundle of various 

I 2 

116 NATIVES iNToxiCATEB. Jan. 1828. 

trifles, some of which they had attemjited to get by pilfering. 
They made themselves so contented, that it was not without 
much difficulty we could persuade them to go on shore. 
Maria had made her mind up to pass the night on board, and 
so anxious were they all to remain, that it was only by giving 
Maria two bottles of spirits (which had been well diluted) 
that they were induced to get into the boat, and accompany me 
ashore. Being a lee-tide, and low water, the boat grounded at 
a considerable distance from the beach ; seeing this, some of 
the Indians rode into the water, and taking us up behind them, 
conveyed us to the encampment, my place being behind Maria, 
the smell of whose zorillo-skin mantle was hardly bearable ; 
but it was necessary to conceal our dislike of our companions 
as much as possible, for they are very sensitive, and easily 

While waiting for the tide, we witnessed a drunken scene at 
Maria''s toldo. Fifteen persons, seated around her, shared the 
spirits she had obtained on board, until all were intoxicated. 
Some were screaming, others laughing, some stupified, and 
some bellowing. The uproar drew all the other Indians round 
the tent, who tendered their assistance to compose their friends, 
and we returned to the ship. When we visited them the next 
day, they were quite recovered, and gave us some guanaco 
meat, which had been brought in that morning. On com- 
municating my intention of proceeding on the voyage, Maria 
wished to know when we should finish our " seal-killing," 
and come back. I told her " in five moons," upon which she 
endeavoured to persuade me to return in four, because she 
would then have plenty of skins to barter. 

I wrote a few lines to Captain Stokes, who, I expected, 
would arrive in a day or two, communicating my desire that 
he should follow, as soon as possible, to Port Famine, and 
committed the letter to Maria''s care, who promised to deliver 
it to him ; then, taking leave of her and her companions, I 
embarked, and proceeded through the Second Narrow to an 
anchorage off Cape Negro. 

Our visit to Gregory Bay, and communication with the 

Jan. 1828. laredo bay — port famine. 117 

Indians, furnished us with many additions to our zoological 
collection ; among them was a tiger-cat, which seemed, from 
the description, to be the Felis pajaros of the Encyclopedic 
Methodique (the " Chat de Pampa" of D'Azara). Maria gave 
me a very large bezoar stone, that was taken from the stomach 
of a guanaco. It is used medicinally by the Indians, as a 
remedy for bowel complaints.* 

Whilst we were at the anchorage before Cape Negro, Mr. 
Tarn and Mr. Wickham visited the lake at the back of Laredo 
Bay, and saw two swans, which, from the colour of their 
plumage, seemed to be the black-necked swan of the River 
Plata and of the Falkland Islandsf (Dom Pernettey, ii. p. 148). 
They brought on board with them a new species of duck, 
which is described in the proceedings of the Zoological Society 
as Anas specularis (Nob.), and a small burrowing animal, of 
the rat tribe, that, from the character of its teeth, is probably 
of a genus not hitherto noted : it approaches nearest to F. 
Cuvier*'s Helamys, 

We next anchored in Port Famine, where the tents, &c. 
were replaced in their former positions, the ship was unrigged 
and secured for the winter, and all hands set to work, prepar- 
ing the Adelaide for service. 

* The medicinal property of this intestinal concretion is well knoM'n 
wherever the animal is found. Marcgrave, in his " Tractatus topogra- 
phicus et meteorologicus Brasiliae," folio, p. 36, says : — " Haec animalia 
(guanacoesj generant lapides Bezoares in sinu quodani ventriculi, qui 
niaximi sestimantur contra venena et febres malignos ad roborandum et 
refocillandum cor, aliosque affectus. Materia ^ qua generantur sunt herbaj 
insignis virtutis,quibus vesountur naturae instinctu ad sanitatem tuendum, 
aut morbos et venena superandum. Hi lapides inveniuntur in adultioribus 
hisce animalibus atque interdum tarn grandes, ut unum in Italiam attu- 
lerim (jui pendet uncias duas supra triginta." — Mr. Thompson, on Intes- 
tinal Concretions. See his Syn. of Chemistry, iv. 576. 

t Anser niijrocollis, Encyc. Method., art. Ornithol. 108. 


Find that the Cutter had been burned — Anxiety for the Beagle— Ux- 
bridge Sealer — Beagle arrives — Her cruize — Bellaco Rock — San 
Julian — Santa Cruz — Gallegos — Adeona— Death of Lieutenant Sholl 
— Adelaide Sails — Supposed Channel of San Sebastian — Useless B;iy 
— Natives — Port San Antonio — Humming-birds — Fuegians — Beagle 
sailed — Sarmiento — Roldan — Pond — AVhales — Structure — Scenery — 
Port Gallant. 

Port Famine bore evident marks of having been visited in 
our absence by the Indians, for a large fire, apparently recent, 
had over-run the grass, and burned the trees upon Point Santa 
Anna, particularly in that part where our boat had been so care- 
fully concealed. Eager to know whether she had escaped the 
fire, I lost no time in hastening to the spot, directly after the 
Adventure anchored, and found, as our fears had anticipated, 
that she had been completely destroyed, scarcely a vestige of 
her wood remaining, and most of the iron-work having been 
carried away ; for which, doubtless, the Indians had set her 
on fire. 

The sheds for the cooper and armourer, which had been 
erected with some pains, were also entirely consumed, and every 
thing portable had been carried away. Those things which 
were of no use to them were either broken or burnt ; but some 
of our station poles on Point Santa Anna were left uninjured; 
as well as the tablet erected to the memory of Mr. Ainsworth 
and the boat's crew ; which was singular, because it was secured 
by iron hoops — of great value, in their eyes. 

From the fresh traces of horses in the neighbourhood, we at 
first suspected the conflagration to have been caused by the 
Patagonians ; but we soon found we owed our loss to the Fue- 
gians, for in two new wigwams were strewed some remains of 
our boat. 

The last winter appeared to have been milder than that pre- 
ceding it, for last January, Mount Sarmiento and the hills to 

^hOl. 1828. BEAGLE UXBRIDSE LOW. 119 

the southward, over Fitton Bay, were so covered with snow, 
that not a particle of tlie rock could be seen ; but this year 
many bare spots were visible. Every thing else, however, indi- 
cated a bad season, and the berberis bushes and arbutus shrubs 
had scarcely any show of fruit ; which was rather a disappoint- 
ment, as the berries of the former plant proved an agreeable 
addition to our food last year. However, there was no scarcity 
of birds, and with the seine we procured plenty of fish. 

The Beagle's long and unexpected absence caused us much 
uneasiness, and some apprehension for her safety. Her visit to 
Port Desire ought not to have occupied more than three days, 
and her superior sailing should have enabled Captain Stokes 
to rejoin us in the entrance of the Strait. People were sent 
daily to look out for her, and every succeeding day increased 
our anxiety. 

A Ions; succession of blowing and rainy weather much 
impeded our progress with the Adelaide ; but the Hope was 
hoisted out, and prepared for service. 

Before daylight on the 14th I was informed that the Beagle 
was seen in the offing. Blue lights were burnt, and lanterns 
immediately shown to guide her to the anchorage ; but our 
disappointment was great when the stranger proved to be Mr. 
W. Low's schooner, the Uxbridge. He had been sealing since 
November in the neighbourhood of Noir Island, near the outer 
entrance of the Barbara Channel, and was on his way to Cape 
Gregory to meet his elder brother, who had been collecting 
sea-elephant oil at South Shetland. The Uxbridge had entered 
the Strait from the Pacific, by the Magdalen ' Channel,' which 
last year we thought a Sound, and had attempted to explore in 
the Hope, but had been deceived by the abrupt change in the 
direction of the Channel at Cape Turn. 

At last (on the 28th), after the Beagle's absence had been 
protracted to more than a month beyond the time intended, 
we were relieved from painful anxiety, and much rejoiced, by 
Mr. Tarn's telling us he had just seen her, and in two hours 
afterwards she arrived. 

Captain Stokes, to my great surprise, told me that he had 


been examining the whole coast between Port Desire and Cape 
Virgins, and for the last ten days had been detained in the 
Gallegos River by heavy gales of wind. He had sounded 
round, and fixed the position of the Bellaco Rock, or St. Este- 
van's Shoal, the existence of which had been so long doubted. 
He had also visited and partially surveyed, the harbours of 
Port San Julian and Santa Cruz, besides Coy Bay, and had 
made almost a complete survey of the River Gallegos, which 
he found to be a large and rapid river, whose entrance forms 
a spacious port : instead of being blocked up by a mound 
of shingle four or five feet above the level of the sea, and 
having so small a stream as to escape the notice of Mr. Weddell 
as he walked along the beach.* Cape Fairweather is so remark- 
able, and so correctly placed upon the chart, that Mr. Weddell, 
in his search for the river, must have very much deceived 
himself. I should think he must have mistaken the ravine 
described upon my former visit, since that is the only part 
which answers his description : it could not be Coy Bay, be- 
cause that opening, although of minor importance, has a broad 
boat communication with the sea. 

Captain Stokes described the tide at the anchorage, within 
the mouth of the Gallegos, as running at the rate of five knots, 
and rising forty-six feet. From Mr. WeddelFs account, he was 
on the point of passing by without examining it; but the wea- 
ther being fine, he determined to go in his boat and ascertain 
the truth of that description. It was soon evident that the 
river was large, and, returning to his ship, he lost no time in 
anchoring her within the entrance, where she rode out a heavy 
gale from S.W. 

The Beagle left the Gallegos on the 23d, and reached Port 
Famine on the 28th, a very short passage, since she remained 
for a night and the greater part of a day at Gregory Bay, to 
communicate with the natives. When approaching the First 
Narrow, Captain Stokes observed a brig, apparently at anchor, 
under Cape Orange, and supposing her either to have found 
a good anchorage, or to be in distress, steered towards her. 
* Weddeil's Voyage. 

Jan. 1828. lieutenant sholl. 121 

Before he had reached within two miles of her, the Beaole 
touched the ground, but was extricated from the danger most 
fortunately, because it was nearly high water ; and had she 
remained a-ground during the tide, the consequences might 
have been serious — at least, she could not have been got oft' 
without lightening her considerably. The brig proved to be 
the Adeona (Mr. Low's vessel), on her way to meet the Ux- 
bridge. In attempting to enter the narrow, she grounded 
on the shoals, and had been left dry. The following tide 
again floated her, and she was on the point of getting under- 
weigh, when the Beagle hove in sight. Captain Stokes finding 
that the Adeona had received no damage, proceeded to Grcoory 

By the Beagle's arrival we were informed of the death of 
Lieutenant Robert H. Sholl, after an illness of ten days. His 
remains were interred at Port San Julian, where a tablet was 
erected to his memory. 

This excellent young man's death was sincerely reo-retted 
by all his friends, and by none more than by me. He was 
appointed to the expedition, as a midshipman, solely on account 
of his high character. 

During our voyage from England, he made himself con- 
spicuously useful in saving the cargo of a vessel, which was 
stranded in Port Praya ; and on our arrival at Rio de Janeiro 
the Commander-in-chief appointed him to a vacant lieutenantcy 
on board the Beagle : an appointment which, up to the period 
of his lamented death, he filled zealously and most creditably.* 

On the 1st of March we were surprised by the appearance 
of three Europeans, walking round Point St. Anna. A boat 

* I cannot avoid noticing; here the considerate conduct of the Com- 
mander-in-chief (Sir George Eyre) with respect to this appointment. By 
the tenor of my instructions the Adventure and Beagle were placed 
under the Admiral's orders; and the vacancy, had he wished to exercise 
his prerogative, might have been filled by one of his own followers. 
It was, however, given, at my request, to Mr. Sholl, as being more con- 
versant with the duties of this peculiar service than any of the midship- 
men of the flag-ship. The Admiral's conduct, on this occasion, calls for 
my warmest thanks. 


was sent for them, and we found they were deserters from the 
Uxbridge, who had come to volunteer for our ships. 

The following day the Adeona and Uxbridge arrived, on 
their way to Port San Antonio, to boil their oil ; but I recom- 
mended Bougainville, or (as the sealers call it) Jack's Harbour, 
as more convenient for their purpose, and more secure from 
storms, as Avell as from troublesome visits of the natives. 

Upon my offering to restore the three deserters to the Ux- 
bridge, Mr. Low requested me to keep them, and another, also, 
who was anxious to join the Adventure, to which I consented, 
as the Adelaide wanted men. 

A few days after Mr. Low's departure, he returned in a 
whale-boat to ask assistance in repairing the Uxbridge's rudder. 
By our help it was soon made serviceable, and she was enabled 
to prosecute her voyage, which could not otherwise have been 

The Adelaide being ready for sea : her first service was to be 
an examination of the St. Sebastian Channel, which, from its 
delineation on the old charts, would seem to penetrate through 
the large eastern island of Tierra del Fuego. In the voyage of 
the Nodales (in the year 1618), an opening on the eastern coast, 
supposed to be the mouth of a chamiel, communicating with 
the Strait of Magalhaens, was discovered. After describing the 
coast to the south of Cape Espiritu Santo, the journal of that 
voyage states : " We found, in the channel of St. Sebastian, 
twenty fathoms clear ground. The north shore is a beach of 
white sand, five leagues in extent, stretching out from the high 
land that terminates at Cape Espiritu Santo, and giving the 
coast here the appearance of a deep bay ; but, on a nearer 
approach, a projecting tract of low shore is observed. The 
south extremity of this low beach is a sandy point, round which 
the channel trends ; the mouth is a league and a half wide. 
The south shore is higher than the land to the northward, and 
in the middle of the bay the depth is from fifteen to twenty 
fathoms clear ground, and a good bottom ; but from mid- 
channel to the south shore the bottom is stony, and the water, 
of little depth, there being only six and seven fathoms. From 



hence the channel shows itself, and continues, as far as we 
could see, of the same breadth. It seemed to be a large sea. 
The latitude was observed to be 53" 16'." * 

From the above account, and from the chart that accom- 
panies it, in which tliis inlet is made to communicate with the 
Strait of MagaDiaens by the opening round Cape Monmouth, 
our knowledge of the supposed St. Sebastian Channel was 
derived. That there is a deep bay, in the latitude of 53° 16', 
not only appears from the account of the Nodales, who were 
within the heads, although it seems they did not proceed 
beyond the stony ground on the south side of the entrance ; 
but also from tlie accounts of vessels who have lately seen it ; 
and of one ship-master who was deterred from entering, by the 
formidable notice on our charts of its being " only navic-able 
for small vessels," whence he conjectured that the tides would 
be very strong, and the channel occasionally narrow, as well as 
and shoal. 

Sarmiento, Narborough, Byron, Wallis, Bougainville, and 
Cordova, have sevei-ally noticed an opening, which corresponds 
to this supposed channel, namely, that between Capes Mon- 
mouth and Valentyn ; but the object of those voyagers having 
been to make the passage through the known Strait, to explore 
this opening was, in all probability, considered a v/aste of 
time ; yet, that such a channel was supposed to exist, we must 
conclude from the conspicuous figure it makes in the charts of 
Tierra del Fuego. 

Had there been a knowledge of its affording any com- 
munication with the sea, surely Sarmiento and Narborough, as 
well as the Nodales, who navigated the Strait from west to 
east, would have been induced to attempt to pass through ; 
and avoid the dangers, as well as difficulties, of the channels to 
the northward. 

Anxious to set the question at rest, I gave Captain Stokes 
orders to proceed to survey the western coasts, between the 
Strait of Magalhaens and latitude 47° south, or as much of 

* Relacion del Viage, &c. que hicieron los Capitanes B. G. de Nodales 
y Gonzalo de Nodales, p. od. 


those dangerous and exposed shores as he could examine, with 
the means at his disposal, and sailed myself, in the Adelaide, 
to explore the supposed St. Sebastian Channel. Every discre- 
tionary power was given to Captain Stokes to act as he pleased, 
for the benefit of the service ; but he had strict orders to return 
to Port Famine by the 24th of July, when I hoped to move the 
Adventure to some other part of the Strait, and to recommence 
operations with the earliest days of spring, if the winter should 
be unfit for our work. 

Having crossed over to the southward of Point Boqueron, 
we proceeded, on the 13th of March, to the N.E. (in which 
direction the opening trended), at no great distance from the 
northern shore; behind which the country seemed to rise gra- 
dually to the summit of a long ridge of table-land, terminating 
near the First Narrow, and appearing like that in the neigh- 
bourhood of Cape Gregory. It was inhabited; for here and 
there we observed the smoke of fires, perhaps intended as invi- 
tations for us to land. 

The south side of the opening seemed (after forming a 
small bay under Nose Peak) to extend in a direction parallel 
to the northern coast of the bay, for three or four leagues, 
when it dipped beneath the horizon. Neither shore had any 
opening or indenture in its coast line, of sufficient size to 
shelter even a boat ; so that a vessel caught here, with a south- 
westerly gale, would have little chance of escape; unless a chan- 
Xie\ should exist, of which, from the stillness of the water and 
the total absence of tide, we had very little hope. The sound- 
ings were variable between twenty and thirty fathoms, and the 
bottom seemed to be of shells, probably covering a substratum 
of clay or sand. As we stood on, a small rocky lump came in 
sight, which appeared to be the termination of the northern 
shore, and again we flattered ourselves with the expectation of 
finding a passage ; but in less than half an hour afterwards, 
the bay was distinctly seen to be closed by low land, and the 
rocky lump proved to be an isolated mass of rock, about two 
miles inland. As every person on board was then satisfied of 
the non-existence of any channel, we put about to return, and 


by bearings of Mount Tarn, crossed by angles from Mount 
Graves, Nose Peak, and Point Boqueron, our position, and 
the extent of this bay, were determined. As it affords neither 
anchorage nor shelter, nor any other advantage for the navi- 
gator, we have named it Useless Bay. It was too much exposed 
to the prevailing winds to allow of our landing to examine the 
country, and its productions, or to communicate with the 
Indians ; and as there was not much likelihood of finding any- 
thing of novel character, we lost no time in retreating from so ex- 
posed a place. Abreast of Point Boqueron the patent log gave 
for our run twenty-six miles, precisely the same distance which 
it had given in the morning ; so that from five o'clock in the 
morning until ten, and from ten o'clock until four in the after- 
noon, we had not experienced the least tide, which of itself is 
a fact confirmatory of the non-existence of a channel. 

From the fires of the natives in this part having been noticed 
at a distance from the beach, it would seem that they derive 
their subsistence from hunting rather than fishing; and as 
there are guanacoes on the south shore of the First Narrow, it 
is probable the people's habits resemble those of the Patago. 
nians, rather than the Fuegians ; but as they have no horses, 
the chase of so shy and swift an animal as the guanaco must 
be fatiguing and very precarious.* 

Sarmiento is the only person on record who has communicated 
with the natives in the neighbourhood of Cape Monmouth. He 
calls them in his narrative a large race (Gente grande). There 
it was that he was attacked by the Indians, whom he repulsed, 
and one of whom he made prisoner. 

We remained a night in Port Famine, and again set out in 
the Adelaide to survey some of the western parts of the Strait. 

* Falkner describes the Indians who inhabit the eastern islands of 
Tierra del Fuego, to be ' Yacana-cunnees,' and as he designates those 
who inhabit the Fatagonian shore of the Strait by the same name, it might 
be inferred that they are of the same race ; but however closely connected 
they may have been formerly, they certainly are not so now, for Maria 
(the Patagonian) spoke very contemptuously of them, and disclaimed their 
alliance; calling them ' zapallios,' which means slaves. 

126 PORT SAN ANTONIO. March 1828. 

Bad weather forced us into Port San Antonio ; of which 
Cordova gives so favourable an account, that we were surprised 
to find it small and inconvenient, even for the Adelaide. 

He describes the port to be a mile and a half long, and three 
quarters of a mile broad : we found the length a mile and a 
quarter, and the mean breadth scarcely a quarter of a mile. 
It possesses no one advantage that is not common to almost 
every other harbour and cove in the Strait ; and for a ship, or 
Square-rigged vessel of any kind, it is both difficult to enter, 
and dangerous to leave. Besides the local disadvantages of 
Port San Antonio, the weather in it is seldom fair, even when 
the day is fine elsewhere. It lies at the base of the Lomas 
Jlange, which rises almost perpendicularly to the height of 
three thousand feet, fronting the great western channel of the 
Strait, whence it receives upon its cold surface the western 
winds, and is covered by the vapour, wliich is condensed from 
them, while in all other parts the sun may be shining brightly. 

This port is formed by a channel, a quarter of a mile Wide, 
separating two islands from the shore. The best anchorage is 
oft' a picturesque little bay on the south island, which is thickly 
wooded to the water's edge with the holly leaved berberis,* 
fuchsia, and veronica, growing to the height of twenty feet ; 
over- topped and sheltered by large beech, and Winter's-bark 
trees, rooted under a thick mossy carpet, through which a 
narrow Indian path winds between arbutus and currant bushes, 
and round prostrate stems of dead trees, leading to the seaward 
side of the island. Upon the beach, just within the bushes, and 
sheltered by a large and wide-spi'eading fuchsia bush, in full 
flower, stood two Indian wigwams, which, apparently, had not 
been inhabited since the visit of poor Ainsworth. He had 
occupied these very wigwams for two days, having covered 
them over with the boat''s sail ; and remains of the ropeyarns 
that tied it down were still there : a melancholy memento. 

In no part of the Strait did we find the vegetation so luxuriant 
as in this little cove. Some of the Winter''s-bai'k and currant 
trees had shoots more than five feet long, and many of the 
* Berberis ilicifolia, — Banks and Solander MSS. 




March 1828. humming-birds. 127 

Winter's-bark trees were two feet in diameter. The veronica (I 
believe V. decussatd) grows in the sheltered parts to the height 
of twenty feet, with a stem six inches in diameter. It was 
found too on the windward side of the island in abundance, 
and of large size, rooted in the very wash of the sea-beach, 
and exposed to the full force of the cold winds and hail-storms, 
which rush down the wide western reach of the Strait. 

The fuchsia also grows to a large size ; but it is a more 
delicate plant than the veronica, and thrives only in sheltered 
places. Many were observed six inches in diameter ; the stems 
of the two last plants were used by us, during our stay, for 

The day after our arrival, the gale subsided, and the weather 
became very fine indeed. The stillness of the air may be 
imagined, when the chirping of humming-birds, and buzzing 
of large bees, Avere heard at a considerable distance. A hum- 
ming-bird had been seen at Port Gallant last year, and was 
brought to me by Captain Stokes, since which none had been 
noticed. Here, however, we saw, and procured several; but 
of only one species.* It is the same as that found on the western 
coast, as high as Lima ; so that it has a range of 41° of latitude, 
the southern limit being 53i% if not farther south. 

The islets, at the north part of the port, were well stocked 
with geese and other birds, which supplied our people with 
fresh meals. The steamer duck we found difficult to shoot, 
from its excessive wariness, and power of remaining, for a great 
length of time, under water. 

Our fine weather lasted but a few hours, and (no unusual 
occurrence in these regions) was succeeded by a week's rain 
and wind, during which we were confined to the small space 

• The specimen that was found at Port Gallant was sent by me to Mr. 
Vigors, who considering' it, although well known to ornithologists, as 
never having yet been named, describes it in the Zoological Journal (vol. 
iii. p. 432, Aug. 1 827), as JNIellisuga Kingii. Shortly afterwards M. Lesson 
published it in his Manuel d'Ornithologie (vol. ii. p. 80.), as Ornismya 
sephaniodes, as a discovery belonging to La Coquille's voyage, in the 
illustrations of which it is figured at plate 31. I rather think, however, 
that it is Molina's Trochilus galeritus. — (Molina, i. 275.). 

128 FUEGiANS. March 1828. 

of the Adelaide ; and for some days had three anchors 
down, owing to the violent squalls. Farenheit's thermometer 
ranged between thirty-six and forty-six degrees, and we had 
several snow storms, but the snow did not lie on the low 

On the 28th the gale began to subside, and there was a 
change for the better ; but we were again disappointed, and not 
until the 31st could we effect our departure from this dreary 
and confined little place. 

The day before we sailed, three canoes, containing in all six- 
teen persons, of whom six only were men, came alongside. 

For about an hour they had hesitated to approach ; but 
when once near us, very little invitation was necessary to induce 
them to come on board. One was clothed in a duck shirt, which 
was recognised by one of our people, who had joined us from 
the Uxbridge, as having been given to them a few weeks 
before, when that vessel passed through Magdalen Channel : 
another wore a red flannel shirt, and in the canoe we observed 
an European boarding-pike, painted green, and a part of the 
iron-work of the cutter, burned at Port Famine during our 
absence ; also some relics of the boat in which Mr. Ainsworth 
was drowned, which last they had doubtless found thrown up 
on the beach. Upon our inquiring how they became possessed 
of the iron-work, they pointed towards Port Famine; and I 
have no doubt they were concerned in the fire; but as we 
could not explain to them the mischief they had occasioned, it 
was thought better not to notice the affair, and the articles 
were retm-ned to them. They could have had no idea of our 
being the owners of the boat, or they would have concealed all 
that belonged to her. 

They conducted themselves very quietly during their stay 
on board, with the exception of one, who tried to pick my 
pocket of a handkerchief ; the offender was ordered out of the 
vessel, and there was no further attempt to pilfer. They wished 
to go below ; but this was not permitted, because the odour of 
their oily persons was scarcely tolerable, even in the open air. 
As to food, tallow-candles, biscuit, beef, plumb-pudding, were 

March 1828. fuegians — beagle sailed. 129 

equally liked, and swallowed most voraciously. One of them 
was discovered taking the tallow out of the end of the deep 
sea lead and eating it, although mixed with sand and dirt. 

Before sunset their canoes were despatched on shore to pre- 
pare the wigwams, during vvhich operation three of the men 
remained on board ; and as soon as the preparations were made 
thev called for a canoe and went on shore. We obtained seve- 
ral spears, baskets, necklaces, bows and arrows from them in 
barter; but they seemed to have very few skins. Perhaps those 
they possessed were hidden in the bushes, because they had no 
wish to part with them. 

One woman was covered with a guanaco mantle •, another 
merely wore a seal-skin over her back and shoulders, Avhich, 
while she crouched in the canoe, was sufficient to cover her 
person. One had a black stripe down the nose, but she was 
the only female among them who was so painted. 

Next morninjj the Indians visited us with a fresh assortment 
of bows and arrows, in the manufacture of which they had 
evidently passed the night, for every one was quite new ; the 
bows were of green wood, and the arrows not even pointed. 
They found, however, a ready sale. One of the party was a 
man who had been turned out of our vessel the preceding even- 
ing, for picking my pocket ; but he was daubed over with 
a whitish pigment to deceive us, and would probably have 
escaped detection, but for the unusual ugliness of his person, 
which was not so easily disguised. He was much disconcerted 
by our recognition ; and our refusal to barter with him made 
him angry and sullen. 

The women had daubed their faces all over with bright red 
ochre ; to add to their beauty, no doubt. 

We sailed out of the port by the northern passage, and stand- 
ing across the Strait, anchored in San Nicolas Bay. Mr. Graves 
went to Bougainville Harbour, to communicate with the 
Adeona, and take letters from me to Lieutenaiit Wickham. 
He brought back an account of all being well at Port Famine, 
and of the Beagle having sailed on the 17th. 

When we left Port Famine my intention was to examine 

VOL. I. K 

130 SARMIENTO — ROLDAN — POND. April 1828. 

the Magdalen Channel ; but, upon leavmg San Nicolas Bay 
(1st April), the weather was so favourable for our proceeding 
to the westward, that I changed my mind and steered round 
Cape Froward in order to get to Port Gallant, whence, with a 
westerly wind, we might more easily survey the coast in return- 
ing. An easterly breeze carried us near Cape Holland, into 
Wood''s Bay, where we anchored, and obtained a bearing of 
Mount Sarmiento, which, being clear of clouds, was a con- 
spicuous, and even splendid object ; for the sun's setting rays, 
shining upon the projecting snowy ridges on its western side, 
gave it the appearance of a mass of streaky gold. It had been 
in sight the whole day, as well as the preceding evening, when 
its bearings were taken from the islet in San Nicolas Bay. 

The next day was so calm that we only reached an anchorage 
in Bradley Cove, on the west side of Bell Bay, of which a plan 
was made ; an extensive set of bearings was also taken on the 
west point of the bay, evidently that called by Sarmiento 
Tinquichisgua.* The conspicuous mountain at the back of the 
bay, on its south-eastern side, is particularly noticed by him, 
and, according to his opinion, is the " Campana de Roldan" 
of Magalhaens.-f- Between Bradley Cove and Point Tinqui- 
chisgua are two coves, over which a high double- peaked moun- 
tain forms a conspicuous object upon rounding Cape Froward ; 
and they were named in compliment to Mr. Pond, the late 
Astronomer Royal. 

While at Point Tinquichisgua we were discovered by some 
natives to the westward, who immediately got into their 
canoes, and paddled towards us ; but, as we had no arms in 
the boat, I did not think it prudent to await their arrival ; 
and therefore, after taking the requisite angles, embarked and 
returned to the Adelaide, examining the inlets under Mount 
Pond on our way. Nothing more was seen of the Indians 
until the following morning, when, as we sailed out of the bay, 
they made their appearance, but we did not communicate 

* Sarmiento, p. 213. 

t Este monte es el que Uaman las Relaciones antiguas la Campana de 
Roldan . — Sarm iento. 

April 1828. whales — structure — scenery. 131 

with them. They were as vociferous as usual, and pointed 
to the shoi-e, inviting us to land. One of them, who stood up 
in the canoe while we passed, was ornamented about the hair 
and body with white feathers. 

This part of the Strait teems with whales, seals, and por- 
poises. While we were in Bradley Cove, a remarkable appear- 
ance of the water spouted by whales was observed ; it hung in 
the air like a bright silvery mist, and was visible to the naked 
eye, at the distance of four miles, for one minute and thirty- 
five seconds before it disappeared. 

A glance at the chart of this part of the Strait will show 
the difference of geological structtire in the opposite coasts. 
The north shore, from Cape Froward to Port Gallant, forms 
a straight line, with scarcely a projection or bight ; but on 
the opposite side there is a succession of inlets, surrounded 
by precipitous mountains, which ai'e separated by ravines. The 
northern shore is of slate; but the other is principally of green- 
stone, and its mountains, instead of running up into sharp 
peaks, and narrow serrated ridges, are generally round-topped. 
The vegetation on both sides is almost equally abundant, but 
the trees on the south shore are much smaller. The smooth- 
leaved beech {Fagus hetuloides) and Winter's-bark are the 
principal trees ; but here and there a small tree was observed, 
like a cypress, Avhich does not grow to the eastward, excepting 
on the sides of Mount Tarn, where it only reaches the height of 
three or four feet. 

The scenery of this part of the Strait, instead of being as 
Cordova describes it, " horrible," is at this season exceedingly 
striking and picturesque. The highest mountains certainly are 
bare of vegetation ; but their sharp peaks and snow-covered 
summits afford a pleasing contrast to the lower hills, thickly 
clothed with trees quite to the water's side, which is bordered 
by masses of bare rock, studded with ferns and moss, and 
backed by the rich dark -green foliage of the berberis and 
arbutus shrubs, with here and there a beech-tree, just begin- 
ning to assume its autumnal tints. 

In working into the narrow entrance of Port Gallant, the 

K 2 

132 PORT GALLANT. April 1828. 

schooner grounded upon a bank that extends off' the mouth of 
the river ; but the water being perfectly smooth, no damage 
was caused. As a secure cove, Port Gallant is the best in the 
Strait of Magalhaens ; from the stillness of its waters, it is a 
perfect wet dock, and from its position it is invaluable. There 
are many coves as safe and convenient when once entered ; 
but the prevailing steepness of the shores, as well as the great 
depth of water, are obstacles of serious importance. Here, 
however, is an exception : the bottom is even and the depth 
moderate ; besides, Fortescue Bay, close by, is an excellent 
roadstead or stopping-place, to await an opportunity of entering. 
For repairing a ship, Port Famine is more convenient, on 
account of the quantity and size of well-seasoned timber lying 
about the beach, and also fi'om the open character of the 
country. At Port Gallant the trees are much stunted, and unfit 
for present use, while the shore, as is the case around almost 
every cove to the westward of Cape Froward, is covered with 
shrubs and brushwood, quite to the high-water mark; so that 
there is no possibility of walking easily to any distance from 
the sea-side. A shingle, or sandy beach, twenty or thirty yards 
in length, occasionally intervenes, but is scarcely preferable to 
a vessel's deck, for a walk. 


Detention in Port San Antonio — Humming'-birds in snow showers — 
Fuegians — Geolooical remarks — Canoes — Carving — Birds — Fish — 
Shag Narrows — Glaciers — Avalanches — Natives — Climate — Winter 
setting in — Adelaide loses a boat — Floods — Lightning — Scurvy — Ade- 
laide's survey — Bougainville Harbour — Indians cross the Strait, and 
visit Port Famine — Sealing vessels sail — Scurvy increases — Adelaide 
sent for guanaco meat — Return of the Beagle — Captain Stokes very 
ill — Adelaide brings meat from the Patagonians — Death of Captain 

Our stay at this port was prolonged beyond my intention 
by thick snowy weather and hard gales, which cut off our 
communication with the shore ; for notwithstanding we were 
in so sheltex-ed a place, and the vessel had three anchors down, 
we did not consider her quite secure against the violent squalls. 
We had been fortunate in procuring observations, and took 
advantage of our detention to lay down the operations of the 
preceding days on paper. Muscles were found in great abun- 
dance on the mud flats. There are thi-ee varieties, one of which 
has a bitter, disagreeable taste, but the others are exceedingly 
good and wholesome. One of the latter is of large size (My- 
tilus Magellmiicus of the Ency. Meth.) The other is of a 
more globose form than the bitter sort, and has a very obtuse 
hinge and margin. The bitter kind contains pearls, which are 
valueless, because small, and of a bad colour. 

At first there were plenty of sea-birds* in the cove, which 
took refuge at the head of the bay ; till after two days, they 
deserted us altogether. There appeared to be an abundance of 
fish ; but as we had not provided ourselves with a seine, and they 

• Here we obtained a second species of the Steamer-duck, which is 
described in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, as 
' Micropterus Putachonicua, Nob.' It differs from the it/, hrachypterus not 
only in colour but in size, being a smaller bird, and having the power 
of raising its body, in flight, out of the water. \\e called it the ' Flying- 

134 HUMMING-BIRDS. April 1828. 

would not take bait, we were confined for refreshments princi- 
pally to shell-fish. 

No traces of quadrupeds, excepting an Indian dog, were 
noticed. Here WalKs's people saw a large cloven-footed animal, 
which they described to be as " big as a jack-ass."" It was 
probably a deer, one or two of which had occasionally appeared 
at Port Famine, (e) 

It has been mentioned that we found many humming-birds 
at Port San Antonio, which we attributed to the sheltered 
situation of the place, and the luxuriant growth of fuchsias and 
other plants, upon the sweets of whose flowers they feed. Here, 
however, one of the same species was seen sporting about in a 
most exposed place and during the falling of a snow shower, a 
proof of the hai'dy character of this little bird, which, if it does 
migrate upon the approach of winter to a warmer clime, lin- 
gers, at least, as long as it possibly can. This was the middle 
of April, the winter had, in fact, already commenced, and all 
the mountains around us were clothed with snow, while the 
ground was also coated with the same dazzling covering. Mr. 
Graves intended to ascend the Mountain de la Cruz ; but a 
heavy fall of snow prevented the attempt, and we lost the oppor- 
tunity of obtaining a round of angles from that elevation, which 
would have materially assisted our operations. We should also 
have obtained a bird's-eye view of the Barbara Channel and 
the Sounds on the opposite side of the Strait, whose extent and 
nature we did not know ; for Cordova's notice of San Simony's 
Bay, and a deep inlet which exists to the westward of it, is 
very unsatisfactory. 

There were no signs of a recent visit from the Fuegians, 
though at the entrance of the cove we found three or four 
wigwams in good repair ; whence it seems probable, that the 
place is one of their frequent haunts. When the Beagle came 
here last year, some station staves were left standing; but, 
before her return, every one had been removed; and when 
Captain Stokes went down the Barbara Channel, to the relief 

(e) Or the animal called by Molina ' Huemul.'— R. F. 

April 1828. fuegians. 135 

of the Saxe Cobourg's crew, those staves were seen in the pos- 
session of the Indians. 

A fine morning (11th) induced us to leave this quiet ancho- 
rage, to examine the openings of the south shore ; and in the 
afternoon, the anchor was dropped in a convenient place, on the 
west side of the western inlet, named by us Warrington Cove. 
While crossing the bay from Point Elvira, the north extremity 
of Cayetano Island, several ' smokes' were observed on the low 
land, at the bottom of the inlet ; and after we anchored two 
canoes visited us, containing six men, four women, and two or 
three children. They approached very cautiously, and could 
not be induced to come alongside. At last the men landed, 
and invited us to communicate with' them. I therefore went 
on shore with two or three officers, and remained with them 
half an hour, during which they gradually lost the distrust 
they had at first evinced ; but each man still carried a number 
of pebbles in the corner of his wrapper, ready to repel any 
attack we might make upon them ; from the knowledge we 
have since obtained of their character, I think it probable 
that they had lately committed some act of aggression on a seal- 
ing-vessel, and were afraid of retaliation. Our conduct tended 
to assure them of our friendship ; and, shortly after we left the 
shore, they came alongside in their canoes, and were very fami- 
liar, eagerly bartering their necklaces and baskets. In their 
way to us they had probably landed their more valuable goods, 
such as otter and seal-skins, as well as their weapons and dogs, 
without which they never go far. 

The natives of this part are considered by the sealers to be 
the most mischievously inclined of any in the Strait, or Tierra 
del Fuego. The appearance of our visitors was certainly against 
them ; but they did not commit themselves during our two or 
three days' communication, by any act which could make us 
complain, or cause suspicion of their honesty and friendship. 
We, however, kept too good a look-out, to enable them to take 
advantage of our seeming good-nature. 

Among bushes behind the high beach were three wigwams, 
but the Indians had no intention of remaining with us for the 


night. They went away, to our great satisfaction, at an early- 
hour, and returned to the bottom of the sound, where a large 
party of their countrymen was assembled. Their departure 
enabled us to look round, in the vicinity of our anchorage, and 
examine its productions, which differed in no way from those of 
other parts of the coast. Its geological structure is, however, 
different : the rocks are greenstone, or granite, without slate. 
Mount Maxwell, rising immediately over the cove, is the termi- 
nation of a rocky mountain range, whose summits are crowned 
with snow. The verdant sides of the hill, interspersed at inter- 
vals with lai'ge masses of bare rock, produced, from a distance, 
rather a pleasing effect ; but, upon examination, the verdure 
was found to consist principally of moss, or a stunted vegeta- 
tion, covering a soft and swampy soil. The upper portions of 
the mount are so precipitous as not to be easily reached ; and, 
indeed, many parts rise with a perpendicular ascent for more 
than a hundred feet. On the south side of Mount Maxwell is 
Smyth Inlet, whicli contains anchorage on the north shore, 
particularly one in Earle Cove ; but in the centre the water is 
deep, and on that account, it is not an inviting place for a ship. 
During Mr. Graves's absence in Smyth Harbour, I examined 
the coast as far as Cape Edgeworth, where I obtained an exten- 
sive set of bearings. The afternoon was particularly favourable 
for the purpose, the snow-capped mountains of the north shore 
were perfectly distinct ; and among them was a very high one, 
shaped like a Highland target, the peak of the mountain 
answering to the central spike of the shield. We never after- 
wards saw it, nor could I, on this occasion, fix its position 
better, than by estimating its distance. The rock is chiefly 
greenstone, accompanied by considerable masses of granite. A 
little islet, off Dighton Cove, is composed of granite, of a 
lamelliform structure. Mr. Graves brought me a sjoecimen of 
lamelliform granite attached to a mass of greenstone. 

The Indians visited us every day, their number being gene- 
rally from twelve to sixteen, of which five or six only were 
men, the rest were women, and children of all ages. One of the 
latter could not have been more than three weeks old ; yet the 

April 18S8. fcegian canoes. \qj 

mother, apparently about sixteen years of age, was always occvi- 
pied in the laborious employment of paddling the canoes. The 
child was secured in the mother's lap, with its head on her bo- 
som, by a mantle, which was drawn tightly round both mother 
and child. Tlieir canoes were similar to those of the eastern parts 
of the Strait, about ten feet long, holding four or five grown 
persons and two or three children, besides their dogs, imple- 
ments, and weapons : they are formed of bark, and kept in 
shape by wooden cross supports secured to the gunwale, which 
is lined by a long, slender pole. They are divided into three 
compartments, the foremost occupying about one-third of the 
length, contains the spears, placed ready for immediate use ; 
in the second are the grown persons, with the fire-place between 
them, the men sitting between the fire-place and the spears, 
to be ready to use them upon the approach of seals or por- 
poises; on the opposite side of the fire-place are seated the 
women who paddle the canoe, in which the men sometimes as- 
sist, when great expedition is necessary. Behind the women, in 
the third division, are the elder children and the dogs, the 
younger children being generally stowed away in the women's 
laps, for the sake of mutual warmth. The fire is made upon a 
layer of clay, several inches thick, at the bottom of the canoe ; 
and above the fire, across the gunwales, are laid several pieces 
of half-burnt wood, for fuel. 

During our conmiunications with these visitors they con- 
ducted themselves peaceably, and made no attempt to pilfer, 
although there was some Uttle roguery displayed by them in 
barter. One of the men having parted with all his disposable 
property, tendered one of his daughters, a fine girl of fourteen 
or fifteen years of age, for some mere trifle, and, being refused, 
became very pressing and importunate to close the bargain for 
the price that was jestingly offered ; nor was it without diffi- 
culty that he was convinced we were not in earnest. They were 
as poor as the rest of their countrymen, very badly clothed, 
and possessing few skins to barter. Two of them exchanged 
their otter skin mantles for cotton shirts, which they continued 
to wear without complaining of cold. 

138 FUEGIAN CARVING. April 1828. 

As their visits lasted all day they always brought their 
food, consisting of the blubber of seals and porpoises. The 
method used by them in cutting it up is nearly similar to that 
adopted by the Esquimaux Indians, as described by Sir 
Edward Parry in his second voyage, and also resembles the 
process of the natives of King George's Sound, which I have 
described in the account of my survey of Australia (vol. ii. 
p. 140) : a piece of blubber being held in the left Iiand, a cor- 
ner of it is taken between the teeth, and it is then cut by a 
knife, held underhanded, into strips backward and forward, 
without passing the instrument entirely through : so that when 
the operation is finished the piece draws out into a long band, 
about an inch thick, formed by the connected strips. The 
whole affair from first to last is most offensive to the sight ; and 
the countenance of the carver is beyond description, for his eyes 
beino- directed to the blubber, squint shockingly, and give his 
ugly face a hideous appearance. The strip of blubber is next 
divided among the party, each of whom proceeds to extract its 
oily juices by drawing it through his teeth and sucking it, 
after which it is warmed in the fire to facilitate its division 
into small pieces, which are swallowed or bolted without masti- 
cation. Morsels of this dainty food were given not only to the 
elder children, but even to infants at the breast. 

On the 14th, while preparing to weigh, the Indians came on 
board and helped to heave in the cable, but without rendering 
us much real assistance. When the sails were loosed, the women 
in the canoes began to chatter and scream for fear we should 
carry off their friends, and their alarm was no sooner given 
than the deck was cleared of our visitors, who seemed to be 
quite as much frightened for their safety as the women were. 
In a few minutes afterwards we were proceeding to the south- 
ward, and first tried to anchor in a bay on the south side of 
Smyth Harbour, but finding the depth too great, I sent Lieut. 
Graves to sound behind an islet where there were indications of 
a place of shelter, but he returned unsuccessful. During his 
absence I went to a very narrow passage, which he had dis- 
covered, leading to a large channel or sound ; but finding it 

April 1828. birds — fish — narrows. 139 

intricate, I deferred trying to enter with the vessel until a more 
favourable opportunity should offer, and we returned to the 
place south of Warrington Cove, called Dighton Bay, where 
we anchored off a sandy beach in twenty fathoms, and secured 
the vessel by laying the kedge on the shore. This sandy beach 
was the first we had found in the eastern part of the Strait. 
The sand is quartzose, of a white colour, and being a novelty, 
rendered the place interesting. A stream, supplied by the 
ravines of Mount Maxwell, runs over the beach into the sea, 
and from it an abundant supply of excellent water may be 
obtained without difficulty. 

We observed no quadrupeds ; but, of the feathered tribe, 
we found woodpeckers, kingfishers, and woodcocks, and in 
the sheltered nooks several humming-birds were darting about 
the flowery underwood of berberis, fuchsia, and arbutus. In 
the tide-way, at the narrow passage, the sea teemed with fish ; 
over which hovered corvorants and other sea-fowl, preying 
upon the small fry that were trying to elude their voracious 
enemies, the porpoises and seals, thousands of which were seen 
sporting about as we proceeded on our way. Whales were also 
numerous in the vicinity, probably because of an abundance of 
the small red shrimp, which constitutes their principal food. 

I went again to examine the passage, and the tide being 
against us, we were obliged to pull close to the western shore 
to benefit by the partial eddies, otherwise we could not have 
proceeded until the turn of the tide. 

These narrows, named ' Shag' Narrows, from the quantity 
of birds there so called by seamen, are not a hundred yards 
wide. The south end is fronted by an island, from whose 
summit, about four hundred feet high, I hoped to obtain a 
good view southward, and after passing the narrows we landed 
and reached the summit. While looking around at the view, 
and preparing the theodolite, a woodcock started up from the 
long grass and walked away so leisurely, that Mr. Tarn nearly 
succeeded in striking it with a stick. This bird afforded us a 
name for the station, which we found to be at the northern side 
of a large basin, ten miles wide, and six long, terminated at 


its south end by a channel leading to the open sea, but crowded 
with islands and rocks. A deep inlet or chasm in the land, at 
the N.W. corner of this basin, was filled with masses of float- 
ino- ice, broken from an enormous glacier. 

After obtaining all the bearings and embarking, we pulled 
three miles to the westward, and took a round of angles at 
Point Cairncross, the south-Avest point of Field's Bay, and 
again another set at the south head of Icy Sound, near Dinner 
Cove, where we found a very convenient anchorage for small 
vessels. Through Icy Sound we found some difficulty in pene- 
trating, as the channel was much obstructed by ice. 

Three miles within this sound the rocky shore became more 
precipitous, and at two miles farther, where the width across 
was not more than one hundred and fifty yards, the rocks rise 
perpendicularly on each side to the height of seven or eight 
hundred feet. Beyond this remarkable part the channel opens 
out to a basin about half a mile in diameter, bounded by a 
sloping glacier, from which immense masses of ice broke off 
frequently, and falling with a noise like the discharge of a 
ship's broadside, threw up the foaming water with terrific 

As we entered the basin, we were startled by a sudden roar, 
occasioned by the fall of one of these avalanches, followed by 
echoes which reverberated round the basin and among the 
mountains. We remained for half an hour afterwards waiting 
for another fall, but were not gratified. Several were heard at 
a distance, probably high up the sides of the glacier. The 
examination of Icy Sound occupied us until dark, when we 
returned to the schooner. 

During our absence, Indians had again visited the Adelaide, 
the greater number of whom were strangers. We had also seen 
a party in a canoe close to ]\Iount Woodcock, who were strik- 
ing seal, and too intent upon their object to pay much attention 
to any thing else. 

On the 16th, the term of our absence having expired, we 
left Dighton Bay on our return : at night we anchored in 
St. Nicholas Bay, and the day after arrived at Port Famine. 

April 1828. natives — climate. 141 

Natives had discovered and visited the ship while I was away, 
but Lieut. Wickham did not encourage them to remain ; and 
two or three attempts to pilfer being detected, they were treated 
with very little ceremony ; so finding their company was not 
desired, they went across the Strait to Lomas Bay, where for 
several days afterwards the smoke of their fires was seen. They 
were the same Indians whom we had met at Port San Antonio. 

That these Indians should be received so coolly, may seem 
to have been impolitic on our side, when it is considered 
that our smaller vessels and boats might be met with, and 
their crews ill-treated by way of retaliation. It was, how- 
ever, time that they should know our superiority ; for, of late, 
several very treacherous attacks had been made by them on 
sealing vessels, and this party was the most forward and inso- 
lent we had seen. One of them was teazing several of the men 
to box, an accomplishment he had probably learnt from the 
crews of sealing vessels ; among others, he fixed upon the 
Serjeant of marines, who very unceremoniously pushed him 
over the side, and made him return to his canoe, which he 
resented by pushing off from the ship's side, and throwing a 
stone at the Serjeant, who w^as standing at the gangway. As it 
missed him, and did no harm, no notice was taken of his mis- 
chief. We afterwards heard that the same party had visited 
Bougainville Harbour, where the Adeona was at anchor ; but 
as Mr. Low neither gave them encouragement to remain, nor 
permitted them to go on board his brig, they very soon went 

The difference between the climates of the western and east- 
ern portions of the Strait was very striking. To the westAvard 
the country, being principally clothed with evergreens, such as 
the smooth-leaved beech, and Winter's-bark, with an underwood 
of arbutus and berberis, seems to possess a constant verdure, 
nor until the snow covers all, does it assume any thing like the 
appearance of winter. To the eastward, evergreens are less 
common, their place being occupied by the beech {Fagus Ant- 
arctica), whose leaves fall very early. Snow had also begun to 
cover the lower grounds, giving signs of winter. April termi- 


nated ^vith finer weather than we had experienced for some 
weeks, but May set in with north-easterly winds and much 
rain, succeeded by a heavy fall of' snow. 

" Tristis hyems montes niveo velamine vestit." 

As yet the thermometer had not been very low. On one or 
two occasions it had fallen during the night to 28°, but gene- 
rally it ranged between 45° and 38°. 

The Adelaide was again despatched on the 30th AprU, to 
carry on an examination of the openings on each side of Caye- 
tano Island ; but she returned on the 21st of May, with the 
disagreeable intelligence of having had her only serviceable 
boat stolen by the Indians. This was a serious loss, not only 
on account of so much time being thrown away, but also 
because we had no other boat to substitute for her. To pre- 
vent delay, I sent to Mr. Low, at Bougainville Harbour, 
requesting that he would sell one of his boats ; but he was 
himself so badly off, from similar losses, that he could only 
assist us by lending one for a few weeks, and as it was the only 
boat he possessed, it could not be spared to go far from his 
vessel. I, therefore, despatched Mr. Graves, in the Adelaide, to 
Bougainville Harbour, to employ himself in examining the 
coast thence to Cape Froward, and in the mean time began to 
build a Avhale-boat, to be ready for the Adelaide's use as soon 
as winter had passed over ; for, from Mr. Graves's report of 
the state of the climate to the westward, very little could be 
done during the winter months. 

The following is Lieut. Graves's account of the loss of his 
boat : — Upon leaving Port Famine he proceeded at once to 
Port Gallant, and surveyed Cordes Bay ; after which he 
crossed the Strait to St. Simon's Bay, and anchored in Millar 
Cove, on its western side, immediately to the north of Port 
Langara, from which it is only separated by a narrow neck of 
land. The Adelaide remained there at anchor while Mr. Graves 
visited the different parts of the bay. Her presence had 
attracted a large party of Indians, who, occupying several 
wigwams near the entrance of the cove, paid daily visits to 

May 1828. Adelaide loses a boat. 143 

our people, and were apparently very familiar and well-dis- 

But they had cast a longing eye on the whale-boat, which, 
when equipped for service, contained many things very useful 
to them, and they laid a plan to carry her off, which succeeded. 
One evening she was prepared for going away at an early hour 
the following day, and, to save time, every thing that miglit 
be required was placed in her, and she was made fast for 
the night. Two or three Indians were then on board, and 
observing what was done, laid their plan, and at sunset took 
their leave as usual. The night was pitchy dark, and at nine 
o'clock the boat was missed from alongside. Tlie alarm was 
given, and instant search made at the wigwams of the Indians, 
who had all decamped, without leaving the least trace of 
themselves or the boat. The ' painter,' or rope by which 
she had been fastened to the vessel, had been cut through 
with some sharp instrument, most probably a knife, which 
our people had sharpened for them on the grindstone that very 

Every possible search was made next morning, but without 
success; the boat that was left was one Avhich could not be 
used with any advantage, and Mr. Graves retui'ned to Port 
Famine. Vexatious as the accident was, I could not blame him 
for what had occurred, for no one had suspicions of such 
conduct from the Indians, who, on all other occasions, had kept 
at a distance from us after night-fall. The boat was properly 
secured alongside, and the night was so cold that no person 
would have thought the Indians would expose themselves to 
such a temperature (28°) ; for they must have swum alongside 
to cut her adrift, and then must have towed her away very 
gradually, to prevent the theft being discovered, for there were 
two persons walking the deck at the time. 

Mr. Tarn, who accompanied Mr. Graves on this occasion, 
brought me a very fine sea-eagle {Polyborus Novce Zealan- 
dicB), and some other birds, and a specimen from a shrub which 
we had not before observed, a species of Desfontanea. 

In order to prevent a similar loss in future, the Adelaide 

144 FLOODS — LTGHT>riXG — SCURVY. June 1828. 

was forthwith fitted with cranks outside, for hoisting up her 
boats when in harbour. 

Winter advanced rapidly ; the ground was constantly covered 
with snow, from one to two feet deep, and every night more 
fell. In the early part of June we had a gale of wind from the 
N.W., which flooded the low ground upon which our tents 
stood ; but fortunately the large tent had been accidentally 
placed on a higher part, and escaped. This flood filled, and, of 
course, spoiled the water in all the ponds about the tents ; and 
we had afterwards to procure our supplies from a considerable 

On the 8th of June much lig-htning: was observed to the 
northward, and repeated rumbling noises were heard, which con- 
tinued for long periods ; one lasted distinctly for the space of 
twenty minutes. At first, they were thought to be eruptions of 
some distant volcano ; but, from the frequent lightning, they 
were probably echoes of thunder, reverberating through the 
deep ravines that intersect the rocky ridges of the Cordillera, 
from which we were distant at least one hundred and fifty miles. 

A succession of bad weather followed, during which the baro- 
meter fluctuated rapidly. On the 14th, the mercury fell to 
28. 17. inches, after which it gradually rose, v/ith fine settled 
Aveather, until it reached 30. 50., when bad weatlier again set 
in. The people at the tents experienced another inundation. 
Had the water risen six inches more, it would have carried 
every thing away ; and as the wind was blowing dead upon the 
shore, while a heavy surf was beating upon the beach, we could 
have rendered them very little assistance from the ship. 

The severity of the weather brought a most disagreeable 
accompaniment. Scurvy appeared, and increased ; while the 
accidental death of a seaman, occasioned by falling down a 
hatchway, followed by the decease of two others, and also of 
Mr. Low, of the Adeona, whose body was brought to me for 
burial, tended to create a despondency amongst the crew that 
I could in no way check. The monotony of their occupations, 
the chilling and gloomy appearance of the country, and the 
.severity of the climate, all tended to increase the number of the 

Junel828. scurvy — Adelaide — cape froward. 145 

sick, as well as the unfavourable symptoms of their disease. 
The Beagle's term of absence was, however, drawing to a close, 
and I caused a rumour to be spread, that upon her appearance 
we should quit Port Famine. To give a semblance of reality 
to this report, the topmasts were ordered to be fidded, and the 
ship otherwise prepared for sea, which had a manifest effect 
upon the scorbutic, of whom several were in a bad stage of 
that horrid disease, and many others were just attacked. We 
found ourselves now, too, thrown on our own resources for fresh 
food : scarcely a fish was taken with the hook, and the seine, 
although frequently shot, never caught anything. Of birds, 
only a few hawks and small finches were procured, which were 
all reserved for the sick, the greater number of whom lived 
on shore, at the tents, where they might walk about, and amuse 
themselves as they pleased. 

The Adelaide returned from Bougainville Hai'bour on the 
18th of June, having succeeded in the object for which she 
was sent. The extremity of Cape Froward, a bluff head, over 
which is a round- topped hill (precisely the French ' Morre') 
is what Sarmiento called the Morro de Santa Agueda. Any 
name given by this excellent old navigator is too classical and 
valuable to be omitted ; therefore, while the extremity itself 
may retain the modern appellation of Cape Froward, the moun- 
tain by which it is formed may still be allowed to keep his 
distinction. Behind it, the land rises to a higher ridge, the 
edge of which is remarkably serrated, and probably of a slaty 

The specimens procured from the Cape were clay-slate, 
much intermixed with iron pyrites, and crossed by small veins 
of white quartz. Of the anchorages examined by Mr. Graves, 
Bougainville Harbour, better known to sealers by the name of 
Jack's Cove, or Harbour, is the most sheltered. 

It is surrounded on all sides by high precipitous hills, 
thickly clothed with trees. The depth is moderate, and the 
water so beautifully clear, that the anchors, and even shells 
and stones, were distinctly seen upon the bottom. It was here 
that Bougainville procured wood for the use of the settlement 

VOL. I. L 


at the Falkland Islands. Captain Stokes says of this place : 
"After seeing the abundant supplies of timberwhich Freshwater 
Bay and Port Famine afford, I had shared in the surprise which 
Byron expresses, that any one should have come so far up the 
Strait to get it ; but on examining the spot, I found that a hap- 
pier selection could not have been made. It is a little cove, just 
round the eastern point of the Bay of San Nicolas, about a 
hundred yards wide and three times as long. Here, moored to 
the shore, a ship may lie in eight fathoms, perfectly sheltered 
from any wind, the water as smooth as in a wet-dock. Shapely 
trees, of all dimensions, are growing within a few yards of the 
shore; and the wood, when felled, may be hoisted on board 
from the beach, by tackles from the yard-arras. Here, too, with 
very little trouble, a supply of water iiiay be got from the 
many streams that make their way through the underwood 
which skirts the cove. As we pulled up this sequestered nook, 
the unusual sound of our oars and voices put to flight multi- 
tudes of birds, and the surface of the water was broken by the 
jumping of fine fish. Some very eatable geese were shot. Our 
stay was too short to admit of hauling the seine ; but my boat's 
crew contrived to half-fill the boat with excellent muscles and 
limpets, which are found here in great plenty.'" 

The geological character of the coast between Cape St. Isidro 
and San Nicolas Bay is clay-slate ; near the beach, however, 
this rock is not visible, since it is there covered with a kind of 
breccia of rounded pebbles, in an indurated sandy rock, of green 
colour. The pebbles are principally of slate ; but some were 
found to be of granite and other quartzose rock, perhaps green- 

One of the headlands, called by M. Bougainville Cape Re- 
marquable, was examined by Mr. Graves for fossil shells, of 
which the French navigator speaks. Half the rock was beaten 
to pieces, without detecting anything like organic remains. 
Living shells were in the greatest abundance about the base of 
the Cape, but that is the case every where. The species gene- 
rally found are limpets and muscles, but with little variety and 
no novelty. 

June 18S8. Indians cross the strait. 14? 

On the 21st of June, after a heavy north-east gale, we had 
an unusually fine day. The hills at the bottom of Magdalen 
Channel were more distinct than we had ever noticed them, 
and Mount Sarmiento was particularly clear ; indeed its out- 
line was so sharply defined, that the distance did not appear to 
be more than ten miles. This extraordinary transparency of the 
air was at first considered a presage of wet weather ; yet the 
clear and sharp appearance of the distant land was unlike that 
which usually precedes a fall of rain. The long series of rainy 
weather we had experienced made us look for a good result 
from such an unusual atmosphere, and we were not deceived. 
The folloAving day our hopes were still further confirmed by 
seeing three Indian canoes, coming across the Strait, towards 
us, from Lomas Bay, which they would not have attempted 
had they not been sure of its continuing fine ; for their canoes 
are ill adapted to encounter the short cross sea found during 
bad weather in mid-channel of the Strait. 

Although the presence of the natives did not in general 
please me, because it naturally put a stop to all work ; yet, on 
this occasion it was agreeable, as it tended in some measure to 
enliven the monotonous manner in which we passed our days. 

Upon reaching the bay, the Indians did not approach the ship, 
but paddled into the coves under Point Santa Anna, where our 
boat was employed watering. Mr. Graves went to them, to 
prevent mischief, and found they were the same party who 
had before visited us. When our boats returned, they paddled 
over to the wigwam at the head of the port, about a quarter of 
a mile beyond our tents, and began to repair it, and by sunset 
were housed and sheltered for the night. We had, however, so 
lately experienced their treacherous disposition, that no confi- 
dence was placed in appearances. Sentinels were posted at the 
tents, to give the alarm, should any of them approach ; and at 
eight o'clock a volley of musketry was fired, by way of intimi- 
dation, and to impress them with the idea that we kept a watch 
upon their movements, and were prepared. 

While the wigwams were repairing, a few of the Indians 
visited our tents ; but were not allowed to pass within a rope 


148 VISIT OF FUEGiANs. June 1828. 

that, by my orders, was stretched around our property, a re- 
striction which they did not attempt to evade. At sunset all 
were told to go away, and they immediately, as well as cheer- 
fully, complied. 

The next morning, and indeed throughout the whole day, 
the neighbourhood of the wigwams exhibited the appearance of 
a fair. I visited them, and found that they had not only re- 
paired an old wigwam, but erected another. Both together 
contained the whole party, consisting of twenty-six individuals, 
among whom were an old man, and two old women. They had 
brought over a collection of baskets, bows and arrows, stone 
heads of knives, &c. to sell to our people, who had always 
shown eagerness to possess these curiosities. The knife-heads 
were made generally of pitch-stone ; but the greater number 
were of broken glass bottles, which thsy had collected when 
they visited us last year. A few strings of beads purchased all 
their riches ; after which they sold their dogs, and Mr. Graves 
procured one of them for a knife and a string of beads. It 
was a remarkably fine animal, and showed great reluctance to 
be handled by our people, several of whom were bitten in their 
attempts to take him to the boat. 

At night one of the canoes was despatched to collect shell- 
fish, probably sea-eggs, from the reef of Rocky Bay. The fol- 
lowing morning all their goods were embarked, and then they 
paddled their canoes to the beach, near the tents, where some 
of their men landed. They had nothing to offer in exchange 
for several things which tempted them, and were beginning to 
grow troublesome. One of them, the individual who threw a 
stone at the sergeant, persisting to pass the boundary that was 
marked upon the ground, which no one of them had before 
presumed to do, was pushed back by the sentinel ; upon 
which he ran to his canoe and took out several spears, doubt- 
less intending to try to force a passage ; but the appearance 
of two or three muskets brought him to his senses, and the 
spears were returned to the canoe ; after which he became 
familiar, and apparently friendly. This affair, however, was 
soon followed by their departure, which gave me much satis- 

June 1828. sealing vessels — scurvy. 149 

faction. They went southward, landing for the night in Voces 
Bay, and the following day went to the Adeona, in Bougain- 
ville Harbour, where they remained some days. 

The day after the Indians left us, a boat came from the 
Adeona, to acquaint us that, in a day or two, she and her 
companions, the Uxbridge and Mercury, intended to leave the 
Strait for the Falkland Islands ; upon which I prepai'ed letters 
for England, and a report of my proceedings for the Secretary 
of the Admiralty. The ships passed by on the 30th, and took 
my letters. 

This last month (June) set in with snow or rain, which con- 
tinued until the 11th, when the weather assumed a very threa- 
tening appearance. On the 14th the barometer fell to 29- 27, 
and the wind blew a hard gale from N.E. ; but in the after- 
noon it veered round to S. W., and the mercury rose rapidly. A 
gale from S.W. followed, and then to the end of the month we 
had a series of moderate weather, but much snow. Themean tem- 
perature for June was 32°,97 the range being between 19°,2 
and 48°,T. 

July commenced with an unusually low temperature and a 
high barometer ; the former, on the 4th was 12°,2, and the lat- 
ter, at the same time, at 30,5 inches, having risen since the 
14th of June 1.82 of an inch. After this we had a few mild and 
fine days, but paid dearly for them ; a northerly gale set in, 
bringing with it unwholesome damp weather, in which the 
temperature rose to between 35° and 42°, and melted much 
of the snow that had covered the ground, quite to the water's 
edge, during the last two months. Our sick-list, particularly 
of cases of scurvy, increased so much, during this damp, trying 
weather, that I determined upon sending the Adelaide to the 
northward, to procure a supply of fresh meat from the Pata- 
gonians ; and, at the same time, to survey that part of the Strait 
lying between Cape Negro and the Second Narrow. 

Lieutenants Graves and Wickham, and Mr. Tarn, went upon 
this service, the latter being most anxious to procure some 
change of diet for the sick under his care, for some of whom 
he was much alarmed. The appearance and severity of this dis- 


ease, although every precaution had been used, and subsequent 
attention paid to their diet, are not easy to account for : fresh 
provisions, bread baked on board, pickles, cranberries, large 
quantities of wild celery, preserved meats and soups, had been 
abundantly supplied ; the decks were kept well-aired, dry, and 
warm, but all to no purpose ; these precautions, perhaps, 
checked the disease for a time ; but did not prevent it, as had 
been fully expected. 

The Adelaide sailed on the 16th of July, with every pros- 
pect of fine weather. The same evening, an American sealing 
schooner anchored near us, on her way to Staten Land. She 
had entered the Straits by Cutler and Smyth Channels, and 
in forty-eight hours arrived at Port Famine. After obtaining 
some trifling assistance from our forge, she sailed. 

On the ^5th, three new cases of scurvy appeared, one being 
the assistant-surgeon, which increased our sick-list to fourteen. 
Feeling the necessity of doing something, I ordered the hands to 
be turned up, ' Prepare ship for sea ! ' No sooner had the words 
escaped the boatswain's lips, than all was life, energy, and 
delight. The preliminary preparations were made, and every 
one looked forward with pleasure to the change, except myself. 
I had hoped to pass the twelve months at Port Famine, with 
the intention of completing a meteorological journal, for which 
this place afforded peculiar advantages. My plan was, on the 
Beagle's return, to despatch her and the schooner along the 
West Coast, and join them in the Adventure at Chiloe. 

As our departure was now supposed to depend on the Beagle's 
arrival, every eye was. on the stretch to watch for her, and 
every morning some one of our party ascended the heights, to 
look out. On the 27th she was seen, beating up from the south- 
ward ; but as the wind was contrary, she did not anchor in the 
bay until the evening. Her return was greeted with three most 
hearty cheers ; but on passing under our stern. Lieutenant 
Skyring informed me that Captain Stokes was confined to his 
eabin by illness, and could not wait on me. I therefore went to 
the Beagle, and found Captain Stokes looking very ill, and in 
low spirits. He expressed himself much distressed by the hard- 

July 1828. RETURN OF THE BEAGLE. 151 

ships the officers and crew under him had suffered ; and I was 
alarmed at the desponding tone of his conversation. He told 
me that the Beagle had been up the western coast as high as 
Cape Tres Montes, in latitude 47°, had surveyed the Gulf of 
Pefias and other portions of the coast, particularly Port Henry, 
at Cape Three Points, the entrance of the Gulf of Trinidad, 
and Port Santa Barbara, at the north end of Campana Island. 

During the survey of the Gulf of Peiias they had experienced 
very severe weather, both stormy and wet, during which the 
Beagle"'s crew were incessantly employed, and had consequently 
suffered greatly. Captain Stokes seemed not to have spared 
himself He appeared much gratified by my visiting him, 
and before we parted he was for a time restored to his usual 
energy, detailing the circumstances of the voyage, and con_ 
versing upon the plan of our future operations with considerable 

The return of the Beagle cheered our ship's company, and 
on the SOth the Adelaide came back, with a large quantity of 
guanaco meat, which had been procured from the Patagonian 
Indians at Peckett's Harbour. 

When the Adelaide anchored there, about thirty natives 
appeared on the shore. Mr. Tarn landed, and communicated 
our wants, saying that he would give tobacco and knives for as 
much guanaco meat as they could procure ; with them was the 
Fuegian, who seemed to be a leading man, and to have become 
one of t he most active of the party. He was the principal spokes- 
man, and upon commencing thehunt he pointed to thesnow upon 
the ground, and called it ' bueno' (good), because it would 
show the traces of the animals, and the direction they had 
taken. Mr.Wickham thus described to me the manner in which 
they hunted : Two men ascended a hill, placed themselves one at 
each end of its summit, and stood motionless for some time, on 
the look-out. As soon as guanacoes were seen, their position 
and movements were communicated, by signs, to the men in 
the valley, who were thus enabled to approach their game un- 
awares. The guanacoes are taken with the bolas, which entangle 
their legs and throw them down. As soon as they are killed. 


they are skinned and cvit up. The first night seven hundred 
pounds of meat were brought, and two thousand and forty-six 
pounds were obtained in a few days. 

This ample change of diet inspired me with the hope 
that our sick, at least those affected by scurvy, would recover, 
and that after another large supply, which we now knew how 
to obtain, we might be enabled to prosecute our voyage as 
was first intended. All hands were therefore allowed fresh 
meat for a week, and the residue was placed at the disposal 
of the surgeon, for the use of the sick, but all ineffectually ; 
the list still increased, and Lieutenant Wickham, with a vio- 
lent cold, and Mr. Rowlett, with scurvy, were added to it. 
The assistant-surgeon's became the worst case of scurvy on 
board ; and our people, finding that the preparations for quit- 
ting the place were not going on, began to despond again. 
Captain Stokes was anxious to prepare his vessel for another 
cruize, being very averse to giving up our plans and returning 
to Monte Video, since he thought the crews, from utter disgust 
at the privations and hardships they had endured, would not 
be persuaded to go on another voyage ; but that if they were 
to go to Chiloe or Valparaiso, to refresh, they might recover 
their strength and spirits, and be willing to renew the survey; 
which, however, he himself seemed to dread, for he never men- 
tioned the subject without a shudder. He was evidently much 
excited, and suspicions arose in my mind that all was not quite 
right with him. I endeavoured to prevail on him to give his 
people a longer rest, but he was the more anxious to make 
preparations. On the 31st July he sent an application for pro- 
visions, and in the evening I received a note from him, which 
was written in his former usual flow of spirits. The officers, 
however, knew more of the diseased state of his mind than I 
did ; and it was owing to a hint given to me, that I desired 
Mr. Tarn to communicate with Mr. Bynoe, and report to me 
whether Captain Stokes's health was sufficiently restored to 
enable him to commence another cruize. This was on the 1st 
of August. The provisions had been sent, in compliance with 
his application, and the surgeons were on board the Adventure, 

Aug. 1828. CAPTAIN STOKEs's DEATH. 153 

considering upon their report, which was, as I afterwards 
found, very unfavourable, when a boat came from the Beagle, 
with the dreadful intelligence that Captain Stokes, in a momen- 
tary fit of despondency, had shot himself. 

The surgeons instantly repaired on board, and finding him 
alive, had recourse to every means in their power, but without 
hope of saving his life. During the delirium that ensued, and 
lasted four days, his mind wandered to many of the circum- 
stances, and hair-breadth escapes, of the Beagle's cruize. The 
following three days he recovered so much as to be able to see 
me frequently ; and hopes were entertained by himself, but by 
no one else, that he would recover. He then became gradually 
worse, and after lingering in most intense pain, expired on the 
morning of the 12th. 

Thus shockingly and prematurely perished an active, intel- 
ligent, and most energetic officer, in the prime of life. The 
severe hardships of the cruize, the dreadful weather expe- 
rienced, and the dangerous situations in which they were so 
constantly exposed — caused, as I was afterwards informed, 
such intense anxiety in his excitable mind, that it became at 
times so disordered, as to cause the greatest apprehension for 
the consequences. On the return of the Beagle he got better ; 
and the officers were so sanguine in hoping for his complete 
restoration to health, on account of his progressive recovery, 
that nothing which had transpired was communicated to me 
until after his decease. 

His remains were interred at our burial-ground, with the 
honours due to his rank, and a tablet was subsequently erected 
to his memory. 


Account of the Beagle's cruize — Borja Bay — Cape Quod — Stuart Bay 
—Cape Notch — Remarks on weather, and errors of Chart — Evan- 
gelists — Santa Lucia — Madre de Dios — Gulf of Trinidad — Port Henry 
— Puma's track — Humming-birds — Very bad weather — Campana 
Island — Dangers — Gale — Wet — Sick — Santa Barbara — Wager's 
beam — Wigwams — Guaianeco Islands — Cape Tres JMontes — St. Paul's 
— Port Otway — Hoppner Sound — Cape Raper. 

The following account of the Beagle"'s cruize is drawn up 
from Captain Stokes's unfinished journal, and from detached 
memoranda, which were found amongst his papers. 

It will be recollected that, on my departure from Port 
Famine, in the Adelaide, in the month of March, to survey 
portions of the southern side of the Strait, I left instructions 
with Captain Stokes to proceed in the execution of his orders 
as soon as the Beagle was ready. The details of those orders 
it is unnecessary to repeat here, as they were performed to my 
entire satisfaction; it will be merely requisite, as briefly as 
possible, to follow him through a most arduous and distressing 
service. It is the sequel that embitters the record. 

" On the 18th of March, I sailed from Port Famine, and 
next day reached Port Gallant. 

" On the 23d, we anchca-ed in the little cove called Borja 
Bay, which, though very confined, and rather difficult of 
access, suited our purpose extremely well. (See Sailing Direc- 
tions). While there we measured the height of one of the prin- 
cipal hills in the neighbourhood, and found it 1,800 feet. 

" Bad weather detained us until the 26th, when we passed 
Cape Quod, and reached Stuart Bay. Many places were left 
unexamined, because my object was to hasten westward before 
the year was farther advanced. 

" (27th.) We left Stuart Bay, and continued our progress 
to the westward, with westerly winds, thick weather, and rain. 

March 1828. cape notch — remarks. 155 

The shores of the Straits were seldom visible to us, from a 
thick mist with which they were clouded : it is, however, a 
bold coast on each side, otherwise the Strait would be utterly 
unnavigahle in such weather. Near Cape Notch the mountains 
spire up into peaks of great height, singularly serrated, and 
connected by barren ridges. About their bases there are gene- 
rally some green patches of jungle ; but, upon the whole, 
nothing can be more sterile and repulsive than the view. This 
afternoon we passed Playa Parda, and in the evening anchored 
in Marian Cove. 

" In the course of the next day the wind freshened to a 
strong and squally gale from the W.N.W., with much rain ; 
the weather was so thick that we could scarcely make out tlie 
coast. In this kind of weather, the lower parts of the shore 
are screened from view by mist, and the upper ones are seen 
looming through it in lofty masses, in a manner which would 
lead a stranger to believe that the ship was completely envi- 
roned with islands. 

" In the evening: we anchored in the little cove called Half 
Port Bay, and next morning resumed our daily struggle against 
wind, tide, and weather. 

" We crossed the mouth of a deep sound on the north shore,* 
where no tide or current was remarked : the delineation of the 
coast about this point is particularly defective in the old charts ; 
fortunately, however, for the navigator, he has here to deal 
with shores where the omission of a whole island, or even the 
addition of a few that do not exist, is of less consequence to 
his safety than the exact limit of one sand-bank in other parts 
of the world. This night we anchored in Upright Bay, which, 
though affording excellent shelter from the prevailing winds, is 
bad with a southerly one ; as, from the steepness of the bottom 
requiring a vessel to anchor close to the shore, sufficient scope 
is not left for veering cable. 

" Sheltered by the high land under which we were anchored, 

* Aftenvards examined by Capt. Fitz Roy. It was called Xaultegiia 
by Sarmiento, who very correctly describes it. — (Sarmiento's Voyage, 
p. 208.) 

156 EVANGELIST ISLES. March 1828. 

with the exception of occasional gusts down the ravines and 
sounds, we had the wind light atW.S.W. ; but the rapid 
traveUino; of the scud over-head showed that the usual weather 
prevailed. We weighed early next morning (30th), and by 
noon had reached so far to the westward that the easternmost 
of the round islands in Cape Tamar Bight bore north about 
two miles. By nightfall we were off Cape Cortado ; but the 
weather seeming settled and the wind drawing to the south- 
ward, I resolved to keep under weigh, and try to get out to sea 
that night. Circumstances favoured us ; the weather was fine, 
the moon remained unclouded, and the wind held at S.S.W. 
An hour after midnight Cape Pillar bore W.S.W., distant 
about two miles, and thence we shaped our course for the 
Evangelists, which we passed at the distance of a mile. 

" The Evangelists, as they are called by the early Spanish 
voyagers, or as they were afterwards named (1670) by Sir 
John Narborough, the Isles of Direction,* are a group of four 
rocky islets, and some detached rocks and breakers, occupying 
altogether a space of three miles ; they are exceedingly rugged 
and barren, and suited only to afford a resting-place for seals 
and oceanic birds. From the heavy sea prevalent there, and the 
raging surf that generally breaks around, landing on them 
can be rarely practicable ; yet sealers effect it. The mate of a 
sealing vessel told me that he had landed on the largest in a 
whale-boat, and killed several thousand seals. The Evangelists 
are of sufficient height to be seen in clear weather from a ship's 
deck, at the distance of six or seven leagues, but the superior 
elevation of the coast on both sides will usually render it 
visible, before these islands can be observed. 

" Immediately on rounding the Evangelists a cape was dis- 
tinguished, appearing to terminate the northern coast line, 
which we made out to be ' Cape Isabel' of the Spanish charts. 
It is a steep, rocky promontory of great height, having at its 
base some detached columnar masses of rock, and at its sum- 
mit a peak, and a serrated ridge ; off it is a steep-sided island, 

* Because they formed a capital leading mark for the Strait of Ma- 

March 1828. santa lucia — madre de digs. 157 

which proved to be that (Beagle Island) of which Lieut. Sky- 
ring and I took the bearing last year, when we were on the 
summit of Cape Victory. 

" Northward of Cape Victory the land forms a deep bight, 
of which Cape Santa Lucia is the north-eastern headland. The 
coast in the interval is exceedingly rugged and mountainous. 
Cape Santa Lucia may be distinguished by a portion of flat 
table-land, about one-third of the altitude of the mountain 
from which it proceeds, and terminating at its outer face with 
a pei-pendicular precipice. 

" The coast between Capes Isabel and Santa Lucia is dan- 
gerous to approach nearer than ten miles, for there are within 
that distance many sunken rocks, on which the sea only occa- 
sionally breaks. Some of these breakers were seen to seaward 
of us, as we proceeded along the coast, at the distance of five 
or six miles. When off Santa Lucia, whales were very numer- 
ous around us. 

" The general aspect of this portion of the coast is similar to 
that of the most dreary parts of the Magalhaenic regions : bare, 
rugged, rocky, and mountainous, intersected by inlets, and 
bordered by islets, rocks, and breakers. 

" The information we possessed respecting the prevalent 
winds on this coast was very scanty ; yet, since all we could 
procure represented them as prevailing from the northward and 
north-westward, I considered it advisable to take advantage of 
the present southerly wind to proceed to the northern part of 
the coast assigned for our survey, instead of stopping to explore 
the bight between Cape Isabel and Cape Santa Lucia. 

" From the bearings at sunset,* we ran along the land with 
bright moonlight, sounding every hour ; and at daylight were 
about ten miles from the Island of Madre de Dies. 

" We closed the land and proceeded to the northward, keep- 
ing at a distance of about three miles off shore, sounding 

* Beagle Island N. 71°. E., Cape Isabel N. 32°. E., a remarkable moun- 
tain in the bight between Cape Santa Lucia and Cape Isabel N. 11°. W. 
Cape Santa Lucia N. 33°. W. ; distance off shore three leagues ; and 
soundings fifty fathoms, sandy bottom. 

158 ouLF OF TRINIDAD. April 1828. 

between twenty-eight and thirty-three fathoms, sandy bottom. 
The weather was clear and fine, and we were enabled to make 
observations, and take the bearings and angles, necessary for 
laying down the coast satisfactorily. 

" At noon we were in latitude 50° 12' south, and in the 
meridian of Cape Tres Puntas, between which and a cape 
bearing from us N. 13° E. (magnetic), distant eight miles, 
there was evidently an inlet : this cape is marked on the chart 
as Cape WiUiam. The character of the land is the same with 
that which we had hitherto passed, bare, rugged, rocky moun- 
tains, with peaks, and sharply serrated ridges. From daylight 
to noon we had run twenty-one miles along the coast ; in that 
interval only one inlet was seen, which was in the latitude of 
50° 27' south, af^reeins: well with the ' West Channel' of the 
Spanish chart. It was four miles wide at its mouth, and 
appeared to follow a winding course to the eastward. The land 
of Cape Tres Puntas curved in to the eastward, until it closed 
with Cape William ; at dusk we were abreast of Cape William, 
and two leagues off shore, where we lay-to till daylight, as I 
wished to examine the inlet between it and Cape Tres Puntas, 
which subsequently proved to be Sarmiento's Gulf of Trinidad. 
The old navigator thus describes its discovery : 

" ' At dayhght, 17th of March, 1579, in the name of the 
most holy Trinity, we saw land, bearing E.S.E., ten leagues 
distant, towards which we steered to explore it. At mid-day, 
being near the land, we observed the latitude 49 2°? but Her- 
nando Alonzo made it 49° 9'. In approaching the shore we saw 
a great bay and gulf, which trended deeply into the land 
towards some snowy mountains. To the south there was a high 
mountain, with three peaks, wherefore Pedro Sanniento named 
the bay ' Golfo de la Sanctisima Trenidad.' The highest land 
of the three peaks was named ' Cabo de Tres Puntas 6 montes.' 
This island is bare of vegetation, and at the water-side is low 
and rugged, and lined with breakers ; on the summit are many 
white, grey, and black-coloured portions of ground, or rock. 
Six leagues to the north of Cape Tres Puntas is the opposite 
side of the gulf, where it forms a large high mountain, backed 

April 1828. PORT HENRY SITUATION. 159 

to the north by low land, and fronted by many islands. This 
high mountain, which appears to be an island from the offing, 
was called ' Cabo Primero.'' '* 

" The following night was clear, and the wind moderate 
from S.E., but in the course of next morning it shifted to N.E., 
with squalls, rain, and thick weather ; we worked into the inlet 
notwithstanding, and by noon had reached three miles within 
its S.W. head-land, Cape William, and were abreast of a bay, 
into which I sent a boat to look for anchorage. On her return 
we stood into it, and anchored in the excellent harbour, after- 
wards named Port Henry, where we remained from the 2d to 
the 5th of April, employed in making a correct survey of the 
harbour and its adjacencies, and determining the latitude and 

" The inner harbour, distinguished in the plan by the name 
of ' Aid Basin,' is perfectly land-locked, and sufficiently spa- 
cious to contain a numerous squadron of the largest ships in 
twenty fathoms water, over a mud bottom, and as completely 
sheltered from the effects of wind and sea as in Avet-docks. At 
the south-west side of the basin is a fresh- water lake, Avhich dis- 
charges itself bv a small stream, whence casks might be con-- 
veniently filled by means of canvas hoses, and the shores 
around have wood for fuel in abundance ; but, from the lofty 
surrounding mountains, some rising almost perpendicularly to 
an elevation of two thousand feet, the thick clouds with which 
this basin was generally overhung, and the dense exhalations 
that arose from it during the rare intervals of sunshine, together 
with the exceeding prevalence of heavy rain on this coast, this 
place must be disagreeable and unhealthy. Such objections do 
not apply to the outer harbour, for while its shores afford 
shelter, they do not obstruct a free circulation of air. It is 
sufficiently large to afford convenient and secure anchorage for 
five or six frigates. 

"We hauled the seine with very poor success, as a few smelt 
only were taken ; we had no better luck with our fishing-lines ; 

* (Sarmiento, p. 65.) 

t The description of Port Henry is given in our Sailing Directions. 


but the trial might have been more profitable at another season, 
judging from the number of seals we saw on the rocks off the 
Port, which live principally upon fish. Muscles, limpets, and 
sea-eggs abound here, and are good and wholesome of their 
kind. Birds are few in number, and of the species most common 
in these regions. No quadruped of any kind was seen ; but 
the purser told me that he had observed, near the sandy beach, 
traces of a four-footed animal, resembling those of a tiger : he 
followed them to a cavern, and thence to the jungle. He also 
said that he had seen several humming-birds. 

" With the exception of wild celery and the arbutus berry, 
I know not of any useful vegetable production that this place 
affords, unless the ' Winter's-bark tree"* may be mentioned. 
Some coarse grass, fit perhaps for animals, may be there pro- 
cured. The only signs of inhabitants were some wigwams on 
the western point, which seemed to have been long forsaken : 
in their construction they were precisely similar to those erected 
by the migratory tribes in the Straits of Magalhaens: and 
the shells of muscles, limpets, and sea-eggs, within and about 
them, showed that the former tenants of these hovels drew, like 
the Magalhaenic tribes, a principal part of their subsistence 
from shell-fish. 

" Around the harbour are granite mountains, perfectly bare 
at their summits and north-western sides, but the lower parts 
are thickly covered in sheltered places and ravines, partly with 
trees, and partly with brushwood : among the trees growing 
here we observed, as usual, two kinds of beech, a tree like the 
cypress, but of small size, and the Winter's-bark. The under- 
wood is composed of all the various shrubs we had met with in 
the Straits of Magalhaens ; and this brushwood is so thickly 
spread over the lower parts of the shores of the harbour, that 
it is only by crawling over it that the distance of a few yards 
from the rocks can be gained ; and being generally of insuffi' 
cient strength to support a man''s weight, it frequently gives 
way beneath him, and he is so completely buried, as to make it 
difficult for him to extricate himself. 

" Scarcely any of the trees attain a size to render them fit 

April 1828. seal — very bad weather. 161 

for any thing but firewood ; of those we felled there was scarcely 
one that was not more or less rotten at the heart, a defect 
probably caused by the extreme humidity of the climate. 

" During our stay, the master, accompanied by our boat- 
swain's mate,(f) an experienced sealer, went to take seal on the 
rocks, and returned in a few hours with some of the inferior 
sort, called ' hair seal,' which were numerous ; but the surf was 
in most places too heavy to allow them to land without much 
risk. The fry of the young seals we thought extremely good, 
not exceeded even by the finest lamb''s fry. 

" On the morning of the 5th we worked to the westward, to 
clear the land on each side of the inlet ; and at sunset, Cajse 
Tres Puntas bore N. b. W. | W., distant two leagues. The 
northerly breeze, which we had worked with since leaving Port 
Henry, increased rapidly to a hard gale, and by 8 p.m. we were 
reduced to the close-reefed main-topsail and reefed foresail. 
The gale continued with unabated violence during the 6th, 7th, 
and 8th, from the north, N.W., and S.W., with a confused 
mountainous sea. Our decks were constantly flooded, and we 
could rai-ely show more than the close-reefed main-topsail and 
reefed foresail. Only two accidents occurred : the little boat 
which we carried astern was washed away by a heavy sea that 
broke over us, while hoisting her in-board ; and the marine 
barometer was broken by the violent motion of the vessel. At 
noon, on the 8th, Cape Corso bore from us, by account, S.E. 
(true), distant fifty-five miles. I had tried to gain a wide ofiing 
to get a less turbulent sea, and because not even an outline of 
the sea-coast of Campana Island was drawn in the chart. We 
had not, during these three days, a glimpse of the sun or of a 
star, for it blew a constant gale, accompanied by squalls, thick 
weather, and rain. According to the time of year, the season 
of winter had not arrived, but the weather seemed to say it was 
already come — 

Sullen and sad, with all it's rising train 
Of vapours, clouds, and storms. 

f/j Thomas Sorrell, now boatswain of the Beagle (1837). He was boat- 
swain of the Saxe Cobouig, when wrecked in Fui-y Harbour. — R. F. 
VOL. I. M 


" The wind abated at daylight on the 9th, and drew to the 
southward, and thence to the S.E. (the fair weather quarter of 
this coast). We bore up to make the land, and at about 10 a.m. 
the ' loom' of it was seen from the mast-head. At noon, high 
mountains were visible from the deck ; our latitude, by obser- 
vation, was 48° 51', and our longitude, by chronometer, 00° 27' 
west of Port Henry. No soundings were obtained with one 
hundred and ten fathoms of line. Hence we steered east (mag- 
netic) towards a remarkable mountain, which, from our being 
nearly in the parallel of it at noon, has been marked in the chart 
as Parallel Peak. The coast we were upon was that of the 
Island 'Campana,"' and, in its general appearance, did not differ 
from that of Madre de Dios. It was late before we got very 
close to the land ; but, for a couple of leagues to the north- 
ward, and about a league to the southward of the parallel of 
our latitude at noon, we could distinguish rocks and breakers 
skirting the coast to a distance of two leagues from the shore. 

" At dusk we hauled off for the night ; but instead of being 
able to resume the examination of the coast next morning, we 
had to encounter another gale of wind from the N.W., which, 
before noon, reduced us to close-reefed main-topsail and reefed 
foresail. This gale suddenly subsided in the western quarter, 
which was singular ; for those we have experienced generally 
commenced at north, thence drew round to the westward, from 
which point to S.W. they blew with the greatest fury, and 
hauling to the southward, usually abated to the eastward of 

" During the afternoon, we again made the land near 
Parallel Peak, but could not close it. Next morning (11th), 
with fine weather, and a fresh breeze at S.W. b. W., we once 
more saw the land about Parallel Peak ; and when distant from 
the shore about eight miles, steered N. b. E. along the coast. 
At noon our latitude was 48° 47'. 

" Throughout our run along the coast this day, we skirted 
a number of rocky islets, rocks, and breakers, lying off shore 
at the distance of three or four miles. Some of the islets were 
elevated several feet above the surface of the sea ; others were 

April 1828. dangers — gale — wet. 163 

a-wasli, and there were breakers that showed themselves only 
occasionally. Along this line the surf beat very heavily, and, 
outside, a long rolling sea prevailed, in which the ship was 
very uneasy. 

" This line of dangers is not altogether continuous ; for 
there is an opening about two miles wide, abreast of Parallel 
Peak, to the southward of which is a bight, where possibly a 
harbour may exist ; but, considering the prevalence of heavy 
westerly gales and thick weather, if there be one, few vessels 
would venture to run for it ; and this line must, I should 
think, be considered as a barrier that they ought not pass. As 
seal are found on the rocks, vessels engaged in that trade 
might not, perhaps, be deterred by these dangers, but every 
other would give all this extent of coast a wide berth. We ran 
past the breakers at the distance of about a mile, having rocky 
soundings, from thirty to twenty-thi'ee fathoms. 

" The termination of the coast line northward was a high, 
rugged island, with a small peak at the north end. The extre- 
mity of the main land was x-ather a high bluff' cape, whence 
the coast extends southward, with craggy, mountainous peaks 
and ridges, as far as Parallel Peak. At sunset, the N.W. end 
of Campana bore north (magnetic), distant three leagues, and 
from the mast-head I could see very distinctly the belt of rocks 
and breakers extending uninterruptedly to the northward, as 
far as the end of Campana. 

" We hauled off' for the night, and had light variable airs, 
or calms, until 2 a.m. of the 12th, when a breeze from the 
northward sprung up, and freshened so rapidly, that by noon 
we were again reduced to a close-reefed main-topsail and 
foresail. The gale was accompanied, as usual, by incessant rain 
and thick weather, and a heavy confused sea kept our decks 
always flooded. 

" The eff'ect of this wet and miserable weather, of which we 
had had so much since leaving Port Famine, was too manifest 
by the state of the sick list, on which were now many patients 
with catarrhal, pulmonary, and rheumatic complaints. The 
gale continued undiminislied until the morning of the 13th, 



when, having moderated, we bore up and steered N.E. to 
close the land. At noon a good meridional altitude gave our 
latitude 48° 30' south, and about the same time we saw the 
land bearing N.E. b. E., which we soon made out to be Parallel 
Peak. After allowing amply for heave of sea, and lee-way, 
we were considerably southward of our reckoning, which 
indicates a southerly current ; but under such circumstances 
of wind and weather its exact direction, or strength, could not 
be ascertained. 

" We proceeded along the land, taking angles and bearings 
for the survey, and at sunset the N.W. end of Campana bore 
from us north (magnetic), distant five leagues. Being now off 
the N.W. end of the island of Campana, which forms the 
south-western headland of the Gulf of Penas, I considered 
that, before I proceeded to examine its inlets, I ought to look 
for the Harbour of Santa Barbara, whicli has been placed on 
the old charts in this neighbourhood. Accordingly we lay-to 
during the night, and at 4 a.m. bore up to close the land ; at 
daylight the extremes of it were seen indistinctly through a 
very cloudy and hazy atmosphere, from N. 39° E. to S. 53° E. 
About noon the weather cleared off, and we ffot the meridian 
altitude of the sun, which gave our latitude 48° 09' south.* 
We directed the course for the Dundee Rock, and when 
abreast of it, steered N.E. (compass) for an opening in the low 
part of the coast ahead, backed by very high mountains, which 
we found was the entrance of Port Santa Barbara. The coast to 
the southward was lined with rocky islets, rocks, and breakers, 
extending a league to seaward, and there were others to the north- 
ward. We were in a channel half a mile wide, through which we 
continued our course, sounding from fifteen to eleven fathoms, 
and in the evening anchored near the entrance of the harbour. 

• The N.W. end of the Island de la Campana bearing N. 71°. 40'. E. 
Two distant hummocky islands (answering pretty well in position with 
the Guaianeco Islands of the Spanish charts) N. .53°. 30'. E., and 
N. 55°. 48'. E., and a remarkable rock, the 'Dundee' of Bulkeley and 
Cummings, about forty-five feet high, rising like a tower fi-om the sea, 
distant offshore five miles, bearing east of us, distant one mile. 

April 1828. oak keam of xiii: wager. 165 

" As our present situation was completely exposed to westerly 
winds, I went to examine a deep bight in the southern shore, 
which proved to be a good harbour, perfectly sheltered from 
all winds, with a depth of three and a half fathoms over a fine 
sandy bottom. In the afternoon we weighed anchor and 
warped into a berth in the inner harbour, where we moored in 
three fathoms. I found lying, just above high-water mark, 
half buried in sand, the beam of a large vessel.* We imme- 
diately conjectured that it had formed part of the ill-fated 
Wager, one of Lord Anson''s squadron (of whose loss the tale 
is so well told in the narratives of Byron and Bulkeley) : the 
dimensions seemed to correspond with her size, and the con- 
jecture was strengthened by the circumstance that one of 
the knees that attached it to the ship's side had been cut, 
which occurred in her case, when her decks were scuttled to get 
at the provisions ; all the bolts were much corroded ; but the 
wood, with the exception of the outside being worm-eaten, was 
perfectly sound. Our carpenter pronounced it to be English 

" The land about this harbour is similar to that about Port 
Henry. Its shores are rocky, with some patches of sandy 
beach, but every where covered with trees, or an impervious 
jungle, composed of dwarfish trees and shrubs. The land, in 
most places, rises abruptly from the shore to mountains, some 
of which attain an altitude of more than two thousand feet, and 
are quite bare at their summits and on their sides, except in 
sheltered ravines, where a thick growth of trees is found. These 
mountains, or at least their bases, where we could break off 
specimens, were of basalt, with large masses of quartz imbedded 
in it ; but on some parts of the shores the rocks were of very 
coarse granite. 

"As in the vicinity of Port Henry, the thickness of the 
jungle prevented our going far inland ; the greatest distance 
was gained by Lieut. Skyring, who, with his wonted zeal to 
prosecute the survey, ascended some of the mountains for the 

* Length twenty feet five inches and a half, sided twelve inches, and 
moulded eight inches and a half. 


purpose of obtaining bearings of remote points : he remarked 
to me, ' that many miles were passed over in ascending even 
moderate heights ; the land was very high and very irregular ; 
the mountains seemed not to lie in any uniform direction, and 
the longest chain that was observed did not exceed five miles. 
The flat land between the heights was never two miles in 
extent : the ground was always swampy, and generally there 
were small lakes receiving the drainage of mountain-streams. 
Indeed the whole country appeared broken and unconnected."" 

" Some of the mountains were ascertained to be 2,500 feet 
high, but the general height was about 2,000 feet. A large 
island, on the northern side of the harbour, is an excellent 
watering-place, at which casks may be conveniently filled in 
the boat. It is also an object of great natural beauty : the 
hill, which forms its western side, rises to seven or eight hun- 
dred feet, almost perpendicularly, and when viewed from its 
base in a boat, seems stupendous : it is clothed with trees, 
among wliich the light-green leaves of the Winter s-bark tree, 
and the red flowers of the Fuchsia, unite their tints with the 
darker foliage of other trees. This perpendicular part extends 
to the northward till it is met by the body of the mountain, 
which is arched into a spacious cavern, fifty yards wide and a 
hundred feet high, whose sides are clothed with a rich growth 
of shrubs ; and before it a cascade descends down the steep 
face of the mountain. 

" On the shore we found two Indian wigwams and the remains 
of a third ; but they had evidently been long deserted, for the 
grass had grown up both around and within them to the height 
of more than a foot. These wigwams were exactly similar to 
those in the Strait of Magalhaens : one was larger than any 
I had met with, being eighteen feet in diameter. The only land 
bii'ds I saw were two owls, which passed by us after dusk with 
a screechincp noise. 

" On the patches of sandy beach, in the inner harbour, we 
hauled the seine, but unsuccessfully ; we expected to find fish 
plentiful here, from seeing many seals on the rocks outside, 
and from finding the water quite red with the spawn of cray- 

A])ril 1828. guaianeco islands. 167 

fish. Muscles and limpets were pretty abundant, and the shells 
(Concholepas Peruviana) used by the Magalhaenic tribes as 
drinking cups, were found adhering to the rocks in great 

" Nothing could be worse than the weather we had durino- 
nine days' stay here ; the wind, in whatever quarter it stood, 
brought thick heavy clouds, which precipitated themselves in 
torrents, or in drizzling rain. We were well sheltered from 
the regular winds ; but many troublesome eddies were caused 
by the surrounding heights, while the passing clouds showed 
that strong and squally north-west winds were prevalent. 

" On the morning of the 24th, we put to sea with a southerly 
bi-eeze. The extent of coast from the eastern part of Port Santa 
Barbara to the outer of the Guaianeco Islands presents several 
inlets running deep into the land ; but it is completely bound 
by rocks and rocky islets, which, with its being generally a lee- 
shore, renders it extremely unsafe to approach. Observing an 
opening between some islets, of which we had taken the bear- 
ing at noon, we stood in' to see whether it afforded anchorao-e ; 
and approaching the extremity of the larger island, proceeded 
along it at the distance of only half a mile, when, after runnino- 
two miles tlirough a labyrinth of rocks and kelp, we were com- 
pelled to haul out, and in doing so scarcely weathered, by a 
ship's length, the outer islet. Deeming it useless to expend 
further time in the examination of this dangerous portion of 
the gulf, we proceeded towards Cape Tres Montes, its north- 
western headland. 

" At sunset Cape Tres Montes bore N. 25° W., distant 
eighteen miles. In this point of view the cape makes very 
liigh and bold ; to the eastward of it, land was seen uninter- 
ruptedly as far as the eye could reach. We stood in sliore next 
morning, and were then at a loss to know, precisely, which 
was the cape. The highest mountain was tlie southern pro- 
jection, and has been marked on the chart as Cape Tres 
Montes: but none of the heights, from any point in which 
we saw them, ever appeared as ' three mounts.' The land, 
though mountainous, seemed more wooded, and had a less 

168 CAPE TREs MONTEs. April 182S, 

rugged outline than that we had been hitherto coasting, since 
leaving the Strait. We steered along the western coast of the 
land near Cape Tres Montes, and at noon, lieing three miles 
from the shore, observed, in latitude 46° 5. south, the cape, 
bearing N. 80° E. (mag.), distant seven miles. The northern- 
most cape in sight N. 26° W., distant ten miles, soundings 
ninety- seven fathoms. Shortly afterwards another cape opened 
at N. 37° W. (mag.). 

" The parallel of forty-seven degrees, the limit assigned for 
our survey, being already passed, I did not venture to follow 
the coast further, although we were strongly tempted to do so 
by seeing it trend so differently from what is delineated on the 
old charts. An indentation in the coast presenting itself 
between movmtainous projections on each side of low land (of 
which the northernmost was the cape sot at noon), we hauled 
in to look for an anchorage ; but it proved to be a mere 
unsheltered bight, at the bottom of which was a furious surf. 
We then stood to the southward, along the land of Cape Tres 
Montes, Avith the view of examining the north side of the Gulf 
of Penas. 

" The following morning was fine : Cape Tres Montes bore 
N.E., distant about three leagues. We lay off and on during 
the day, while the master went in the whale-boat, to examine 
a sandy bay (of which Cape Tres Montes was the easternmost 
point) for anchorage : he returned about sunset, and reported 
that it did afford anchorage ; but was quite unsheltered from 
wind, and exposed to a great swell. The boat's crew had fallen 
in with a number of seals, and the quantity of young seal's fry 
they brought on board afforded a welcome regale to their mess- 
mates and themselves. 

" At daylight (27th) we were four leagues from Cape Tres 
Montes, bearing N. 68° W. (magnetic) a remarkable peak, 
marked in the chart the ' Sugar Loaf,' N. 19° E., distant 
twenty-four miles, and our soundings were sixty-eight fathoms. 
This peak resembled in appearance, the Sugar Loaf at Rio 
de Janeiro : it rises fi-oin a cluster of high and thickly-wooded 
islands, forming apparently the eastern shore of an inlet, of which 

April 1828. st. Paul's — pokt otway. 169 

the land of Cape Tres Montes is the western head. Further to 
the N.E. stands a lofty and remarkable mountain, marked in 
our chart as ' the Dome of Saint PauFs."' It is seen above the 
adjacent high land. The height of the Sugar Loaf is 1,836 feet, 
and that of the Dome of Saint PauFs, 2,284 feet. 

" During the day we worked up towards the land, eastward 
of Cape Tres Montes, and at night succeeded in anchoring in 
a sandy bay, nine miles from the Cape, where our depth of 
water was twelve fathoms, at the distance of a cable and a half 
off shore. We lay at this anchorage until noon the following- 
day, while Lieut. Skyring landed on some low rocks detached 
from the shore, where he was able to take some advantageous 
angles ; and on his return we weighed and worked up the gulf, 
between the eastern land of Cape Tres Montes, and high, well 
wooded islands. The shores of the main land, as well as of 
the islands, are bold, and the channel between them has no 
dangers : the land is in all parts luxuriantly wooded. About a 
mile and a half to the northward of the sandy beach which we 
had left, lies another, more extensive ; and a mile further, a 
considerable opening in the main land, about half a mile wide, 
presented itself, having at its mouth two small thickly-Avooded 
islands, for which we steered, to ascertain whether there was a 
harbour. The water was deep at its mouth, from thirty-eight 
to thirty-four fathoms ; but the comparative lowness of the 
shores at its S.W. end, and the appearance of two sandy 
beaches, induced us to expect a moderate depth within. As we 
advanced, a long white streak was observed on the water, and 
was reported from the mast-head as a shoal ; but it was soon 
ascertained to be foam brought doAvn by the tide, and we had 
the satisfaction of anchoring in sixteen fathoms over a sandy 
bottom, in a very excellent port, which we named Port Otway, 
as a tribute of respect to the Commander-in-chief of the South 
American Station, Rear Admiral Sir Robert Waller Otway, 


* * * * 

A deficiency here occurs in Captain Stokes's journal, which 
the Beagle's log barely remedies. From the 30th of April to 

170 BEST — SPARS — HOPPNER SOUND. May 1828. 

the 9th of May tliere was a succession of stormy weather, 
accompanied by almost incessant and heavy rain, which pre- 
vented the ship being moved ; but proved, in one respect, 
advantageous, by affording a very seasonable cessation from 
work to the fatigued crew, and obliging Captain Stokes to 
take some little rest, which he so much required; but regretted 
allowing himself, and submitted to most reluctantly. He con- 
tinues his journal on the 9th of May, stating that, " Among tlie 
advantages which this admirable port presents to shipping, a 
capital one seems to be the rich growth of stout and shapely 
timber, with which its shores, even down to the margin of the 
sea, are closely furnished, and from which a frigate of the 
largest size might obtain spars large enough to replace a top- 
mast, topsail-yard, or even a lower-yard. In order to try what 
would be the quality of the timber, if, in case of emergency, it 
were used in an unseasoned state, I sent the carpenter and his 
crew to cut two spars for a topgallant-mast and yard. Those 
they brought on board were of beech-wood ; the larger being 
thirteen inches in diameter, and thirty feet in length. 

" On the 10th, the weather having improved, the Beagle was 
moved to the head of the inlet, to an anchorage in Hoppner 
Sound, and on the 11th I went with Lieut. Skyring to examine 
the opening, off which we were anchox'ed. 

" On each side of it we found coves, so perfectly sheltered, 
and with such inexhaustible supplies of fresh water and fuel, 
that we lamented their not being in a part of the world where 
such advantages could benefit navigation. The depth of water 
in mid-channel was generally forty fathoms ; in the bights, or 
coves, it varied from sixteen to twenty-five fathoms, with 
always a sandy bottom. We saw a great many hair seals, shoals 
of pie-bald porpoises, and birds of the usual kinds in con- 
siderable numbers. On several points of the shores were parts 
of the skeletons of whales ; but we no where saw a four-footed 
animal, or the slightest trace of a human habitation. The 
unusual fineness of the morning, the smoothness of the water, 
and the proximity of the adjacent lofty mountains, clothed 
almost to their sunDiiits by the fullest foliage, with every 

May 1828. isthmus — south sea — c. kapek. 171 

leaf at rest, combined witli the stillness around to give the 
scene a singular air of undisturbed repose. We reached the 
extremity of the inlet, which we found was about six miles 
from its mouth ; and thinking that it was the inner shore of an 
isthmus, of no great width, curiosity prompted us to endeavour 
to see its outer shore : so we secured the boat, and accompanied 
by five of the boafs crew, with hatchets and knives to cut their 
way, and mark the trees to guide us on our way back, we 
plunged into the forest, which was scarcely pervious on account 
of its entangled growtli, and the obstrvictions presented by 
trunks and branches of fallen trees. 

" Our only guide was an occasional glimpse, from the top of 
a tree, of the ranges of mountains, by which we steered our 
course. However, two hours of this sort of work were rewarded 
by finding ourselves in sight of the great South Sea. It would 
be vain to attempt describing adequately the contrast to the 
late quiet scene exhibited by the view we had on emerging 
from this dark wood. The inlet where we left our boat resembled 
a calm and sequestered mountain lake, without a ripple on its 
waters : the shore on which we now stood was that of a horrid 
rock-bound coast, lashed by the awful surf of a boundless 
ocean, impelled by almost unceasing west winds 

" Our view of the coast was limited on each side by rocky 
mountainous promontories : off the northernmost, which I 
called Cape Raper, were rocks and breakers, extending nearly 
a mile to seaward. Havinsj taken the few bearing-s our situation 
enabled us to obtain, we retraced our steps to the boat, and 
by aid of the marks we had left on the trees, reached her in an 
hour and forty-three minutes. 

" Some of the beech-trees of this wood were fifteen feet 
in circumference ; but I noticed none differing in their kind 
from those already observed about Port Otway. A few wrens 
were the only living creatures we saw ; not even an insect was 
found in our walk. In the beds of some of the streams inter- 
secting the woods was a singularly sparkling sand, which had 
so much the appearance of gold, that some of our party carried 

172 SUPPOSED GOLD DUST. May 1828. 

a bag-full on board to be tested. The shining substance proved 
to be, as I had supposed, the micaceous particles of disinte- 
grated granite. It was not our good fortune to discover streams 
similar to those sung of by the poet, 

" Whose foam is amber, and whose gravel gold." 


Leave Port Otway — San Quintin's Sound — Gulf of Penas — Kelly Har- 
bour — St. Xavier Island — Death of Serjeant Lindsey — Port Xavier — 
Ygnacio Bay — Channel's mouth — Bad weather — Perilous situation — 
Lose the yawl — Sick list — Return to Port Otway — Thence to Port 
Famine — Gregory Bay — Natives — Guanaco meat — Skunk — Condors 
—Brazilians — Juanico — Captain Foster — Changes of officers. 

The Beagle returned to Port Otway the following day, and 
in an interval of better weather obtained the observations neces- 
sary for ascertaining the latitude and longitude of the port, 
and for rating the chronometers. 

Captain Stokes's journal continues on the 19th of May: "We 
left Port Otway, and as soon as we had cleared its entrance, 
steered E.N.E. across the gulf; leaving to the northward all 
that cluster of islands, distinguished in the chart as the ' Marine 
Islands,"' and went to within a mile from the eastern shore. 
Thence we ran four miles and a half parallel with the direction 
of coast E.S.E. (mag.), at the mean distance of a mile off shore. 
The aspect of the eastern and western portions of this gulf is 
very different, and the comparison is much to the disadvantage 
of the eastern. Ranges of bare, rugged, rocky mountains now 
presented themselves, and where wood was seen, it was always 
stunted and distorted. A long swell rolled in upon the shore, 
and every thing seemed to indicate a stormy and inclement coast. 
There are a few bays and coves, in which is anchorage depth, 
with a pretty good bottom of dark coarse sand : but rock- weed 
in large patches, seen in some of them, denoted foul ground ; 
and tliey are all more or less exposed, and extremely unsafe. 
As night advanced, the weather became rainy and thick ; so 
havino- reached a biaht which seemed less insecure than 
others that we passed, I hauled in, and at about seven p.m., 
guided only by the gradual decrease of our soundings, from 


fourteen to eight fathoms, and the noise of the surf, came to 
an anchor. 

" Next morning (20th) we found that we had anchored in 
a small bay, at about half a mile from a shingle beach, on 
which a furious surf was breaking so heavily as to prevent our 
lancHng any where. We were completely exposed to S.W. 
winds, with a heavy roUing sea ; and the surf on all points cuts 
off commiuiication with the shoi-e. A breeze from the S.W. 
would have rendered it difficult to get out, and would have 
exposed us to imminent hazard. It is called on the chart Bad 
Bay. We left it eagerly, and proceeded to trace the coast to the 
E.S.E., until we were nearly abreast of a moderately high and 
thickly-wooded island, called Purcell Island. We passed to the 
nortliward of Purcell Island, leaving on the left a rock only a 
few feet above the surface of the sea, which lies about midway 
between that island and the main land. As we advanced to 
the eastward, a large and very remarkable field of ice was seen 
lying on the low part of the coast, yhich, at a distance, we 
took for a dense fog hanging over it, as nothing of the kind 
was observable in any other part. When nearly abreast of San 
Xavier Island, a deep sound was observed to the left, or north, 
which we concluded was the San Quintin Sound of the Spanish 
chart :• it seemed to be about five miles in breadth, and follow- 
ing a westerly direction. We kept sight of the Sugar Loaf, and 
other points we had fixed, until more could be established, 
which enabled us to chart the coast as we went along. My next 
object was to trace the Sound of San Quintin to its termination, 
and at nightfall we succeeded in getting an anchorage at the 

" On the 21st we proceeded up the sound, passing to the 
northward of Dead Tree Island. Our soundings, until abreast 
of it, were from sixteen to ten fathoms, on a mud bottom ; it 
then shoaled to four fathoms, and after running about three 
miles in that depth, we came to an anchor at the distance of a 
mile from the north shore of the sound, in four fathoms. 

" Exceedingly bad weather detained us at tliis anchorage. 
From the time of our arrival, on the evening of the 21st, 

May 1828. gulf of penas — kelly harbouk. 175 

until midnight of the 22d, it rained in torrents, without tlie 
intermission of a single minute, the wind being strong and 
squally at W., W.N.W., and N.W. 

" When the weather improved, on the 23d, we weighed, and 
made sail along the northern side of the sound, for the pur- 
pose of ascertaining whether it admitted of a passage to the 
northward. We kept within a mile of the shore, sounding from 
eight to fifteen fathoms, generally on a sandy bottom ; and a 
run of seven miles brought us within three miles of the bottom 
of the inlet, the depth of water being four fathoms, on sand. 
The termination of this sound is continuous low land, with 
patches of sandy beach, over Avhich, in the distance, among 
mountains of great height, we were again able to make out 
and take the bearing of that remarkable one, named the ' Dome 
of St. Paurs.' The shores of this inlet are thickly wooded ; 
the land near them is, for the most part, low, but rises into 
mountains, or rather hills, from twelve to fifteen hundred feet 
in height, from which many streams of water descend. As 
soon as a ship has passed Dead Tree Island, she becomes land- 
locked; and as in all parts of the sound there is anchorage 
depth, Avith a muddy or sandy bottom, the advantages offered 
to shipping would be of great consequence in parts of the world 
more frequented than the Gulf of Penas. 

" Whales were numerous, and seals were seen in tliis inlet, 
now called the Gulf of San Estevan. 

" Hence we went to Kelly Harbour, at the north-eastern side 
of the Gulf of Penas, four miles N.E. of Xavier Island. The 
land around it is rocky and mountainous, but by no means 
bare of wood. Near the entrance it is low, as compared with 
the adjacent land ; but in the interior are lofty snow-capped 

" A large field of ice, lying on the low land near Kelly Har- 
bour, was remarkable. There was none on the low grounds at 
the other (southern) side of the port, though it was almost the 
winter solstice at the time of our visit. 

" Another day and night of incessant rain. In the morning 
of the 25th we had some showers of hail, and at daylight found 


that a crust of ice, about the thickness of a dollar, had been 
formed in all parts of the harbour. The water at our anchorage 
being fresh at half-tide, was, no doubt, in favour of this rapid 
congelation. Lieutenant Skyring having completed the exami- 
nation of the harbour, we left it and steered between St. Xavier 
Island and the mainland, through a fine bold channel, nearly 
four miles wide, with a depth of more than thirty fathoms. 
The land on both sides is closely wooded, and rises into high 
mountains. About dusk we stood into Port Xavier, a little 
bight, with a sandy beach, on the eastern side of the island ; 
and, at a distance of two cables' length from the beach, anchored 
for the night in seventeen fathoms. 

" (26th). This sandy beach extended about half a mile be- 
tween the points of the bay, and, at fifty yards from the water, 
was bounded by thick woodland, which rose with a rapid ascent 
to the height of a thousand feet. The trees were like those in 
the neighboux'hood of Port Otway, and were stout and well- 
grown. A tree, large enough for a frigate's topmast, might be 
selected close to the shore. The Winter's-bark tree attains here a 
greater size than I had before seen. One, which was felled by our 
wood-cutters, measured eighty-seven feet in length, and was 
three feet five inches in circumference. All the trees were in full 
foliage and verdure, though the season corresponded to the lat- 
ter part of November in our northern latitudes. At the south 
end of the sandy beach was a stream of fresh water, several 
yards in width, and various waterfalls descended from the moun- 
tains. The shore to the southward was composed of fragments 
of granite, lying at the base of a lead-coloured clay cliff, at 
least three hundred feet in height. In this cliff" the moiuitain- 
torrents had formed deep chasms, and strewed the beach 
with its debris, and with uprooted timber. The only living 
creatures seen were steamer-ducks, king-fishers, and turkey- 

" While on shore, I received a melancholy message, announ- 
cing the death of Serjeant Lindsey, of tlie Royal Marines. 
During the last few days he had sufl^ered from inflammation 
of the bowels, which brought his existence to a close. 

May 1828. port xavieu — yoxACio bay. ITT 

" The following day (27th) a grave was dug, and we dis- 
charged the last sad duties to our departed shipmate. A wooden 
cross was erected at the head of his grave, on which was an 
inscription to his memory : we also named the south point of 
the bay after him. About noon we left Port Xavier, and coasted 
the island, at the mean distance of a mile, examining it for 
anchorages, until, after a run of eight miles, we reached its 
south point. For the first four or five miles of that distance, 
the coast of the island consisted of a high steep cliff, having at 
its base a narrow beach, composed of various-sized masses of 
rock. In the interior there were heights, rising twelve or four- 
teen hundred feet, wooded nearly to the summits, with many 
streams of water descending from them ; but for the remainder 
of the distance the coast was low, and the wood stunted and 
scanty. All along the shore rolled a heavy surf, that would 
have rendered any attempt to land exceedingly hazardous ; 
there was no place fit for anchorage, except a small bight, near 
the extreme south point, into which we stood, and with some 
difficulty succeeded in anchoring at a cable's length from the 
shore. The bay proved to be that called by the Spanish mis- 
sionary voyagers ' Ygnacio Bay.' Over the south point, — a nar- 
row tongue of land, about five hundred yards across, with 
rocks and breakers stretching off shore, to the distance of two 
miles, — we took bearings and angles to various fixed points in 
the northern part of the gulf. The latitude, chronometric dif- 
ferences of longitude, and magnetic variation, were determined 
on shore at this southern point. 

" Our observations being completed, we left this anchorage ; 
and as it is little hkely to be visited again, it will be enough to 
say that it is exceedingly dangerous. Nothing would have 
induced me to enter it, but the duty of examining the coast for 
anchorage, and the danger of remaining under sail close to an 
unexplored shore. 

" Under an impression that the island of St. Xavier* was the 

• Xavier's Island is certainly the Montrose Island of Byron's Narra- 
tive. The Wager was lost, as will be seen, more to the southward, on the 
Guaianeco Islands. 

vol. I. N 

178 channel's mouth. June 1828- 

scene of the Wager's wreck, I wished to examine its western 
side ; but a strong N.N.E. wind did not permit my doing so, 
without risking the loss of more time than could be spared for 
an object of mere curiosity. I steered, therefore, to the south- 
eastward for an inlet, which proved to be the Channel's Mouth 
of the Spanish charts, and reached it, after running seventeen 
miles from the south end of Xavier Island. We got no sound- 
ings with ninety fathoms of line, when at its entrance ; but 
making no doubt that we should get anchorage witliin, we left, 
at the distance of half a mile, the islets of the northei'n point ; 
passed between two others distant apart only one-fifth of a mile, 
and shortly after anchored in twenty fathoms, sheltered by an 
island to the westward, but with rocky islets around us in all 
directions, except the S.E., some of wliich were less than a 
cable's length from us.* Here we were detained until the 10th 
of June by the worst weather I ever experienced : we rode 
with three anchors down and the topmasts struck ; and though 
we lay within a couple of hundred yards of the islands and 
rocks, and less tlian half a mile from the shores of the inlet, 
such a furious surf broke on them all, that it was but rarely 
a boat could land, even in the least exposed situations the 
inlet afforded. The evening of our arrival was fine, and we 
put up the observatory tent, on the island to the westward 
of us ; but the weather was so bad, during the next day, 
that we could effect no landing to remove it, although we 
anticipated the result that followed, namely, its being washed 

" In the short intervals of the horrible weather that pre- 
vailed, boats were sent to the northern shore of the inlet, for 
the purpose of procuring water and fuel ; but though they 
sometimes succeeded, by dint of great perseverance, in landing 
through a raging surf, it was but seldom they could embark 
the small casks (barecas) which had been filled, or the wood 
they had cut. 

" Upon this shore the master observed remains of some 
Indian wigwams, that seemed to have been long forsaken, and 
* This group was afterwards called Hazard Isles. 

June 1828. weather — perilous situation. 179 

he described them to be exactly like those we had hitherto met 
to the southward. 

" This was the northernmost point at which we noriced 
traces of human beings. 

"Finding the boats' crews suffer much from their unavoidable 
exposure during continually wet weather, I ordered some can- 
vas to be given to each man for a frock and trowsers, to be 
painted at the first opportunity, as a protection against rain 
and spray. 

" Nothing could be more dreary than the scene around 
us. The lofty, bleak, and barren heights that surround the 
inhospitable shores of this inlet, were covered, even low down 
their sides, with dense clouds, upon which the fierce squalls 
that assailed us beat, without causing any change: they seemed 
as immovable as the mountains where they rested, 

" Around us, and some of them distant no more than two- 
thirds of a cable's length, were rocky islets, lashed by a tre- 
mendous surf; and, as if to complete the dreariness and utter 
desolation of the scene, even birds seemed to shun its neigh- 
bourhood. The weather was that in which (as Thompson em- 
phatically says) ' the soul of man dies in him.' 

" In the course of our service since we left England, we have 
often been compelled to take up anchorages, exposed to great 
risk and danger. But the Beagle's present situation I deemed 
by far the most perilous to which she had been exposed : her 
three anchors were down in twenty-three fathoms of water, on 
a bad bottom of sand, with patches of rock. The squalls were 
terrifically violent, and astern of her, distant only half a cable's 
length, were rocks and low rocky islets, upon which a furious 
surf raged. 

" I might use Bulkeley's words in describing the weather in 
this neighbourhood, and nearly at this season : ' Shov/ers of 
rain and hail, which beat with such violence against a man's 
face, that he can hardly withstand it.' 

" On the 10th, the wind being moderate, and the weather 
better, preparations were made to quit this horrid place. We 
put to sea, with a moderate breeze from N. b. W., which 

a 2 

180 LOSE THE YAWL — SICK LIST. June 1828 

increased rapidly to a strong gale ; and scarcely were we fairly 
freed from the channel, than we found ourselves in a heavy 
confused sea. Anxious to clear the entrance, I had not waited 
to hoist in the yawl, with which we had weighed one of our 
anchors, expecting to find smooth water as we went out ; but 
the sea we met made it unsafe to tow her, and while hauling 
up to hoist her in, she was so badly stove by blows received 
from the violent motion of the ship, that we were obliged to 
cut her adrift. This was a heavy loss. She was a beautiful 
boat, twenty-eight feet in length, — pulled and sailed well, and 
was roomy, light, and buoyant ; her loss was second only to 
that of the ship. 

" We endeavoured to clear the Guaianeco Islands, by carry- 
ing a heavy press of sail, but soon after midnight were obliged 
to furl the reefed mainsail. Before daylight the wind shifted 
suddenly to W. b. N., taking us aback by a violent squall, 
with much vivid lightning and heavy rain. Our admirable 
little vessel paid off without sustaining any damage ; but for a 
minute her situation was critical. At daylight, the land of 
Cape Tres Montes bore W. ^ N. (magnetic), distant four 
leagues. The violence of the gale we had just had put it out 
of our power to clear the gulf; and, from the state to which we 
were reduced by the loss of our yawl, both gigs being in bad 
condition, and our cutter so much stove as to be useless, I con- 
sidered that it would not be justifiable to attempt proceeding 
in a lone ship to an unknown and most stormy coast, without 
a single efficient boat ; so I resolved to hasten to Port Otway, 
and put the boats irto an effective state. We had baffling winds 
all day ; but in the evening succeeded in reaching the harbour, 
and anchoring nearly in our old berth. On the 13th and 14th, 
we had a continued hard gale, with the usual accompaniment 
of heavy rain. The carpenters were, however, kept constantly 
at work to render the cutter effective. On the 15th, the state 
of the sick list caused me to require from the surgeon, his 
opinion as to the ' necessity of a temporary cessation of sur- 
veying operations.' Mr. Bynoe's reply stated ' that in con- 
sequence of great exposure to a long-continued succession of 

June 182S. short stay at port otway. IS'l 

incessant and heavy rain, accompanied by strong gales, the 
health of the ship's company had been seriously affected, par- 
ticularly with pulmonic complaints, catarrhal, and rheumatic 
affections ; and that, as a recurrence of them would probably 
prove fatal in many instances, a temporary cessation would be 
of the greatest advantage to the crew, by affording an oppor- 
tunity of recruiting their health.' 

" On receiving the above communication from the surgeon, 
I ordered the yai'ds and topmasts to be struck, and the ship 
covered over with sails. Precaution was used to prevent the 
people from being subjected to frequent exposure, by not 
employing any of them in boats, except once a day in procur- 
ing muscles, and every thing was avoided that could in the 
least interfere with the recovery of their health : but this place 
is exceedingly ill adapted for the winter quarters of a ship's 
company, as the woods that surround it, down even to the 
water's edge, allow no space for exercise on shore, and there is 
neither game nor fish to be procured, except shell-fish ; of 
which, fortunately (muscles and clams), we found an abun- 
dance, and they proved useful in removing symptoms of scurvy, 
besides affording a change of diet. The place being destitute 
of inhabitants, is without that source of recreation, which 
intercourse with any people, however uncivilized, would afford 
a ship's company alter a laborious and disagreeable cruise in 
these dreary solitudes. Every port along this coast is alike ill 
suited for a winter's residence, and it was only our peculiar 
situation that induced me to determine on making a short 
stay at this place." 

Here poor Captain Stokes's remarks and notes end. Those 
who have been exposed to one of such trials as his, upon an 
unknown lee shore, during the worst description of weather, 
will understand and appreciate some of those feelings which 
wrought too powerfully upon his excitable mind. 

The Beagle remaiiied quiet until the 29th of June, when the 
surgeon reported " the crew sufficiently healthy to perform 
their duties without any material injury to their constiiutions." 



Leaving Port Otway, she steered along the coast with, strange 
to say, easterly winds and fine weather, which enabled Lieut. 
Sky ring to add much to the survey of the coast of Madre de 
Dies. Captain Stokes now began to show symptoms of a malady, 
that had evidently been brought on by the dreadful state of 
anxiety he had gone through during the survey of the Gulf 
of Penas. He shut himself up in his cabin, becoming quite 
listless, and inattentive to what was going on ; and after entering 
the Strait of Magalhaens, on his return to Port Famine, he 
delayed at several places without any apparent reason ; conduct 
quite opposite to what his would naturally have been, had he 
then been of sound mind. At last, want of provisions obliged 
him to hasten to Port Famine ; and the day on which he arrived 
every article of food was expended. 

The fatal event, which had cast an additional gloom over 
every one, decided our quitting the Strait. Both ships were 
immediately prepared, and we sailed on the 16th August ; 
but previously, I appointed Lieutenant Skyring to act as com- 
mander of the Beagle ; Mr. Flinn to be master of the Adven- 
ture; and Mr. Millar, second master of the Adventure, to act 
as master of the Beagle. The day we sailed, Mr. Flinn was 
taken ill ; and, Lieutenant Wickham being on the sick list, I 
was the only commissioned officer able to keep the deck. As the 
wind was from the N.W., we Avere obliged to beat to wind- 
ward all night, and the next morning were off Sandy Point ; 
but it blew so very strong from the westward, and the wea- 
ther was so thick from snow-squalls, which passed in rapid suc- 
cession, that we bore up, and anchored in Freshwater Bay, 
"where the ships were detained by northerly winds until the 
21st, when we proceeded; the wind, however, again opposing, 
we anchored about half a mile from the shore, in a bight, 
seven miles southward of Sandy Point. The following day we 
were underweigh early, and reached Gregory Bay. When off 
Elizabeth Island, I despatched the Beagle to Pecket's Harbour 
to recall the Adelaide, in which Lieutenant Graves had been 
sent to procure guanaco meat. The Beagle worked througli, 
between Elizabeth Island and Cape Negro, and was seen by 

Aug. 1828. GREGORY BAY NATIVES. 183 

US at anchor off Pecket's Harbour before we entered the Second 

Upon our anchoring under Cape Gregory, two or three Pata- 
gonians were seen on the beach, and before half an hour had 
elapsed others joined them. By sunset several toldos, or tents, 
were erected, and a large party had arrived. When the Adelaide 
first went to Pecket's Harbour, Mr. Tarn told the Indians 
that the Adventure would be at Gregory Bay in twenty-five 
days, and, accidentally, we arrived punctually to the time. The 
Patagonians must have been on their way to meet us, for they 
could not have travelled from Pecket"s Harbour in the short 
space of time that we were in sight. To their great mortification, 
however, we held no communication with them that evening, 
and the next day the weather was so bad we could not even 
lower a boat. At noon the wind blew harder than I had ever 
witnessed ; but since we were on good holding-ground, and the 
water was smooth, no danger was anticipated. 

As the snow-squalls cleared off, we looked towards the 
Patagonians, with the full expectation of seeing their huts 
blown down : — to our astonishment, they had withstood the 
storm, although placed in a very exposed situation. We counted 
twelve or fourteen of them, and judging by our former expe- 
rience of the number belonging to each, there must have been, 
at least, one hundred and fifty persons collected. During the 
gale they kept close ; and it was only now and then that a soli- 
tary individual was observed to go from one toldo to another. 

The weather having moderated, the Beagle and Adelaide 
joined us on the following day. They rode the gale out, with- 
out accident, off the entrance of Pecket's Harbour. The next 
morning being fine, we prepared to proceed ; but previous to 
weighing I landed, and communicated with our old acquain- 
tances. Maria was with them, and, if possible, dirtier, and 
moi-e avaricious than ever. We collected the guanaco meat they 
had brought for us ; distributed a few parting presents, and 
then returned on board. 

The Adelaide brought sixteen hundred pounds of meat, 
which, with what was first obtained, amounted to four thousand 

184 GUANACO HEAT SKUNK. Aug. 1828. 

pounds weight ; and cost altogether ten pounds of tobacco, 
forty biscuits, and six pocket-knives. At first a biscuit was 
considered equivalent to forty or fifty pounds of meat ; but as 
the demand increased, the price rose four or five hundred per 
cent. With the Patagonians were two of IVIr. Low's crew, who 
had left him. They were Portuguese, in a miserable state, and 
appeared to be thoroughly ashamed of being the companions of 
such a dirty set : they could not speak English, and could give 
us very little information. They had not then assumed the 
Indian garb, although, from the state of their clothes, they 
would very soon be obhged to adopt it. 

At Pecket's Harbour a few words of the native language 
Avere collected, which are very different from those given by 
Falkner, in his description of the Patagonian natives : he says 
himself, that the language of the northern Indians differs 
materially from that of the ' Yacana Cunnees.' 

During Lieutenant Graves's communication with the natives, 
at Pecket's Harbour, he obtained some interesting information 
respecting these Indians, which will be given in a subsequent 
part of the work. 

The Adelaide brought me a few very gratifying additions 
to my zoological collection, among which was the Zorillo, or 
Skunk, of the Pampas ; differing in no way whatever from the 
species found about the River Plata, in such numbers as to 
impregnate the air with their disagreeable odour for many miles 

I have frequently found the scent of this offensive little ani- 
mal distinctly perceptible when I was on board the Adventure, 
lying at anchor about two miles from Monte Video, with the 
wind blowing from the land.* 

• D'Azara, in his Essai sur I'Histoire Naturelle des Quadrupedes de 
Paraguay, gives the following account of this animal, which he calls 
Yagouare. It burrows in the ground, eats insects, eggs, and birds, when 
it can surprise them, and moves about the plains and fields both by day 
and night in search of food ; brushing the ground with its body, and 
carrying its tail horizontally. It regards not the presence of man or 
beast ; unless an attempt be made to injure or take it, when it gathers up 
its body, bristles up the hairs of its tail, erecting it vertically ; and in 


Au<T. 1828. CONDORS— THEIR FOOD. 185 


A very large condor was shot by one of the Adelaide's 
party, which measured, in length, four feet three inches and a 
half, and nine feet two inches between the extremities of the 
wings. It was presented to the British Museum. Many exag- 
gerated accounts of this bird have been given by old voyagers; 
but the largest dimensions stated, of whose accuracy there 
exists no doubt, are those of one that was preserved in the 
Leverian Museum, which measured thirteen feet one inch, 
from wing to wing. This, however, must have been an old 
bird ; for the one we killed is larger than the usual size of 
specimens which have been obtained. Molina states, in his 
account of this bird, vol. i. p. 298, that the largest he ever saw 
measured fourteen feet and some inches (Spanish measure), from 
the tip of one wing to that of the other. M. Humboldt also 
gives a detailed description. 

" It is with the condor,"" says this celebrated voyager, " as 
with the Patagonian, and many other objects of natural history; 
the more they are examined, the more they diminish in size." 
They inhabit the highest mountains of the Andes, and only 
descend to the plains when pressed by hunger. Frequently, in 
troops, they attack cattle, deer, guanacoes, and even the puma, 
and always succeed in killing them ; but their principal food 
is carrion, of which, in a country so abundantly stocked with 
quadrupeds, there is probably no want. 

Our departure from the Strait was attended with beautiful 
weather ; the moon was full, and the wind fair and moderate. 

this position awaits the approach of its enemy, at whom it ejects its urine, 
which produces so unbearable a smell, that neither man, dog, nor tiger, 
will attempt to touch the animal. 

The yagouare moves very slowly, and cannot run. Tt produces two 
young ones, which are placed at the bottom of its burrow. The uncon- 
quered Indians of the Pampas make mantles with the furs of the fox, 
cavia, or other animals, and border them with the skins of the yagouare, 
which are very soft and fine, and would be fit for being employed by the 
furrier were it not for the disagreeable odour which they impart to 
every thing they touch. The Indians eat the flesh of this animal, which 
they irritate until its only means of defence is unavailing, and it can be 
captured without ofl'ensive consequences. 

186 BRAZILIANS. Aug. — Sept. 1828. 

Cape Virgins was passed soon after sunset, and we proceeded 
on our course with rapidity. 

The timely supply of guanaco meat had certainly checked the 
scurvy, for we had no new cases added to the number of the 
sick, now amounting to twenty. The Beagle v/as not so sickly ; 
but, during the last cruise, upwards of forty cases, principally 
pulmonic, had occurred, and several were not yet recovered. On 
the passage, a man fell overboard from the Beagle, at night, 
and was drowned. 

In latitude 45° S. we were delayed three days, by northerly 
winds and damp foggy weather, after which a fresh S. W. gale 
carried us into the River Plata. Having obtained good chro- 
nometer sights in the afternoon, we steered on through the 
night, intending to pass to the westward of the Archimedes 
Shoal ; whicli would have been rather a rash step, had we not 
been well assured of the correctness of our chronometrical 
reckoning. At this time Brazil and Buenos Ayres were at war, 
and some of the blockading squadron of the former were 
generally to be met with in the mouth of the river; but we 
saw none, until half-past two in the morning, when several 
vessels were observed at anchor to Jleeward, and we were soon 
close to a squadron of brigs and schooners, whose number was 
evident by a confusion of lights, rockets, and musketry, on 
board every vessel. I bore down to pass within hail of the 
nearest, which proved to be the Commodore's, the Maraiiao of 
eighteen guns ; and on approacliing, explained who and what 
we were ; but they were so confused, I could not even make 
myself understood. The breeze, at the time, had fallen so light, 
that, fearing to get foul of the brig, the ship was hove up in 
the wind, and the anchor ordered to be let go. Unluckily a 
stopper was foul, and before another bower could drop, the 
Brazilians had fired several muskets into us, happily without 
doing any miscliief ; and threatened us, if we did not imme- 
diately anchor, with a broadside, which, in their utter con- 
fusion, I am astonished they did not fire. Having anchored, and 
lowered the topsails, I sent a boat to inform the Brazilian who 
we were, and to i-equest, that in consequence of the number of 







Sept. 189.S. sENou jl^anico's kindness. 187 

our sick (we had only ten serviceable men on deck), we might 
not be detained, as even a few hours might prove of serious 
consequence ; but all I could urge was unavailing, and we 
were detained until daylight with trifling excuses. We were so 
situated, that unless the brig veered her cable, or dropped out 
of our way, we could not move without getting foul of her, else 
I should have proceeded without permission. After daylight, 
the brig gave us room, by tripping her anchor ; and upon an 
officer coming on board to release us, I told him my opinion of 
the affair, and said I should report the captain's conduct to his 
admiral. This report was afterwards made, in a very spirited 
manner, by Captain Henry Dundas, of H.M.S. Sapphire ; but 
the admiral defended the conduct of his officer by saying that 
lie had merely acted, " magna componere parvis,'' as an English 
blockading squadron would have done in a similar case. 

Whether the act was borne out, or not, by the law or cus- 
tom of blockade, it was very uncivil ; and one for which, after 
the explanation given, and the proofs offered, there could not 
be the slightest occasion. Owing to this detention, we did not 
reach the anchorage at Monte Video until too late in the day 
to procure refreshments for the sick. We found, to our sorrow, 
that fresh provisions were so extremely scarce, owing to the 
war, that none could be procured for our ships' companies ; 
and had it not been for the kindness of Senor Juanico, a well- 
known, and highly esteemed resident at Monte Video, who 
supplied us plentifully with bitter (Seville) oranges, we might 
have been much distressed. The free use, however, of this fruit 
alone caused a rapid change in the health of those affected by 
scurvy, and in less than a week every man was at his duty. 

A few days after our arrival, through the intervention of the 
British minister, a peace was concluded between the bellige- 
rents, in which Buenos Ayres gained all it had contended for, 
and Brazil gave up what she had so imperiously demanded. 

I Avas extremely gratified by meeting, at this port, the late 
Captain Henry Foster, in H.M.S. Chanticleer, on his pen- 
dulum voyage. He was established at an observatory on a 
small island, called Rat, or Rabbit Island, whither I lost no 


time in proceeding, and found him deeply engaged in that 
series of observations which has reflected so much honour upon 
his memory. 

Before he sailed, I made an arrangement to meet the Chanti- 
cleer, either at Staten Land or Cape Horn, for the purpose of 
supplying her with provisions, to enable him to proceed thence 
to the Cape of Good Hope, without returning to Monte Video. 
On the 13th of October, we sailed for Rio de Janeiro to pro- 
cure some stores, which had been sent from England for our 
use, and to be caulked and refitted. The Beagle remained at 
Monte Video, to prepare for our next cruise. Before we were 
ready to leave Rio de Janeiro, the Commander-in-chief, Sir 
Robert Otway, arrived from Bahia, in his flag-ship, the Ganges. 
Sir Robert acquainted me, that he considered it necessary for 
the Beagle to be hove down and repaired ; — that he intended 
to supersede Lieutenant Skyring ; and had sent the requisite 
orders to Monte Video. When the Beagle arrived, Lieutenant 
Robert Fitz Roy, flag lieutenant of the Ganges, was appointed 
as commander ; Mr. J. Kempe, mate, as lieutenant ; and Mr. 
M. Murray, second master of the Ganges, as master. 

Although this arrangement was undoubtedly the prerogative 
of the Commander-in-chief, and I had no reason to complain of 
the selection he had made to fill the vacancies, yet it seemed 
hard that Lieutenant Skyring, who had in every way so well 
earned his promotion, should be deprived of an appointment to 
which he very naturally considered himself entitled. 

The conduct of Lieutenant Skyring, throughout the whole 
of his service in the Beagle, — especially during the survey 
of the Gulf of Penas, and the melancholy illness of his captain, 
— deserved the highest praise and consideration ; but he was 
obliged to return to his former station as assistant surveyor : 
and, to his honour be it said, with an equanimity and good- 
will, which showed his thorough zeal for the service. 

Captain FitzRoy was considered qualified to command the 
Beagle : and although I could not but feel much for the bitter- 
ness of Lieutenant Skyring's disappointment, I had no other 
cause for dissatisfaction. 

©®IS1©®VAIB>*S> RfilOtUIIMT^OKI, 1^0® ©E JJ A [F3 E fl D& d 

■"uayizhed. by Eemj Coj'dutd. Great Marlboio-ugh. Sn:ectl83S 


Adventure sails from Rio de Janeiro to the River Plata — Gorriti — Ma.- 
donado — Extraordinary Pampero — Beagle's losses — Ganges arrives — 
Another pampero — Go up the river for water — Gale, and consequent 
detention — Sail from Monte Video — Part from our consorts— Port 
Desire — Tower Rock — Skeletons — Sea Bear Bay — Fire — Guanacoes 
^Port Desire Inlet — Indian graves — Vessels separate — Captain Foster 
Chanticleer — Cape Horn — Kater's Peak — Sail from St. Martin Cove 
— Tribute to CaptainFoster— Valparaiso— Santiago— Pinto— Heights 
— Chil6e — Aldunate. 

The Adventure sailed from Rio de Janeiro on the 27ih of 
December 1828, leaving the Beagle to complete her repairs, 
and follow to the River Plata. The day before our arrival at 
Maldonado, we were overtaken by the Commander-in-chief, in 
H.M.S. Ganges, and entered the river in company. The Ganges 
proceeded to Monte Video ; but we went into Maldonado Bay, 
where I had determined to wait for the Beagle. 

Since our last visit to this place, the Island of Gorriti had 
been occupied by Brazilian troops, who, before going away, 
set fire to the buildings, and destroyed all the wood-work. As 
one object of my stay was to obtain observations for the latitude 
and longitude, I erected our portable observatory, and set up 
an azimuth altitude instrument. 

On the 30th of January, after some intensely hot and sultry 
weather, we experienced a very severe ' Pampero.' It was pre- 
ceded by the barometer falling to 29'50, and by a strong N.W. 
wind, which suddenly veered round to S.W., when the pampero 
burst upon us. Our ship and boats fortunately escaped any 
bad effects from the violence of the squall, which was so strong 
as to lay the former, at anchor, upon her broadside ; but on 
shore our tent was blown down, and a boat that had been lately 
built, and fresh painted, on the Island Gorriti, was completely 
destroyed. The part above the thwarts, was torn away from 
the bottom of the boat, and carried, by the violence of the 
wind, for two hundred yards along the beach. A boat, also, 

190 KXTRAOEDlNARy PAMPERO. Jail. 1829. 

on the opposite shore, was blown to atoms. When the squall 
commenced, one of our boats was coming off from the island ; 
the officer being quite unconscious of the approaching hurricane, 
and as she was overloaded with people, I felt very uneasy 
until after the squall cleared away, when I observed her beached 
on the opposite shore, many yards above high water mark, 
to which position she had been driven by the force of the wind. 
The violence of this pampero, during the twenty minutes it 
lasted, was terrific. Old inhabitants of Maldonado declared, 
that they had experienced nothing like it for the last twenty 
years. The spray was carried up by whirlwinds, threatening 
complete destruction to every thing that opposed them. In 
less than half an hour it had diminished to a strong S. W. gale, 
which lasted during; the night. 

Just before the pampero commenced, L'Arethuse, French 
frigate, was observed over the point of land under all sail ; but 
not being seen after the squall cleared off, we were much 
alarmed for her safety. At daylight, however, the next morning, 
she was seen at anchor under Lobos Island, and near her was 
our consort, the Beagle, of whose approach we had known 
nothing ; bnt she appeared to be lying quietly, with topmasts 
struck, under the lee of the island. L'Arethuse slipped her 
cable in the afternoon, and ran out to sea. 

On the 1st of February the wind moderated, and enabled 
ihe Beagle to join us, when we found that she had been nearly 
capsized by the pampero ; and had suffered a considerable loss 
of sails and masts, besides injury to her boats. Both topmasts, 
and jib-boom, with all the small spars, were carried away; and 
her jib and topsails, although furled, were blown to pieces. 
The vessel was on her beam ends for some time ; but letting 
go both anchors brought her head to wind and righted her, 
which prevented the necessity of cutting away the lower masts. 
To add to their misfortune, two men' were blown overboard, 
from aloft, and drowned. 

These severe losses caused considerable detention ; but, fortu- 
nately, the Ganges arrived, and rendered every assistance in 
repairing and replacing the Beagle's damages 

Feb. 1829. water — gale — departuke. 191 

On the night of the 2d of February we experienced another 
very severe pampero, during which one of the Beagle's boats, 
hauled up on shore, was blown to atoms. The barometer had 
previously fallen to 29-39. 

On the 9th of February, we went toMonte Video, and on the 
17th ran up the north side of the river for water ; but did not 
find it fresh until we were within four miles of Cape ' Jesus 
Maria.' The wind was against our return, so that we had to 
beat down the river, in doing which the Adelaide grounded, 
but without receiving any injury. We anchored twice in our 
passage out, and, at the second anchorage,* experienced a 
very heavy westerly gale. In attempting to weigh at its com- 
mencement, our windlass was so much injured, that we were 
obliged to ride the gale out, which we did by veering to one 
hundred and ten fathoms of chain cable ; and the Beagle, to 
one hundred and fifty fathoms. Owing to a short heavy sea, in 
which the Adventure frequently pitched her bowsprit and stem 
alternately under water, her jolly-boat was washed away. This 
loss we could ill afford, as we were already three boats short of 
our establishment, and wants; and as the Adelaide had suffered 
severely, by losing her topmast and jib-boom, and carrying 
away the head of her bowsprit, we were obliged to return, very 
reluctantly, after the gale had subsided, to Montevideo; whence 
we finally sailed on the 1st of March, On the 5th a S.S.E. 
gale separated us from our consorts, our course, therefore, was 
directed for the first rendezvous, at Port Desire. 

When off Cape Blanco, the high land of Espinosa, in the 
interior, was clearly distinguished at a distance of sixty miles, 
and might probably be seen twenty miles further ; so that its 
height must be, at least, four thousand feet. This range is of 
irregular form, and has several peaked summits, sovery different 
from the general features of this coast, where the heights are 
either flat-topped, or of an undulating outline, that I suppose 
the rock to be of a character unlike that of the porphyry hills 
common hereabouts. 

« From which the Mount (at Monte Video) bore N. 11°. W., distant 
eight leagues. 

192 PORT DESIRE — TOWER ROCK. March 1829- 

On anchoring off Port Desire (14th), we found that the 
Beao-le had arrived, but had not met the Adelaide. The fol- 
lowing afternoon I landed to examine the Tower Rock, a very 
conspicuous object, on the south side of this hai'bour, having 
the appearance of an enormous dead tree with its branches 
lopped off. On our way to it Ave passed over an undulating 
plain, composed of a sandy light soil, lying on a rocky basis, 
which in many parts protruded. The soil was so poor, as only 
to produce a few tufts of grass, and here and there a straggling 
bush of Berberis, or Piccoli, a dwarf woody shrub, which is 
much esteemed as firewood by the sealers who frequent the 
coast. Sir John Narborough, in describing this place, says, 
"The soil is gravelly and sandy, with tufts of dry seared grass 
growing on it;" again: "from the tops of the hills I could 
see a great way into the land, which is all hills and downs, like 
Cornwall, toilsome travelling to those who were not used to it." 

The Tower Rock is evidently the remains of what was once 
probably a considerable rocky mass, which has either been par- 
tially destroyed by some convulsion, or, more probably, has 
been gradually worn away by the effect of weather. Like all 
the debris around, it is of a fine-grained red porphyritic clay- 
stone, much decomposed, but very hard, and difficult to 

It stands erect at the summit of a mound or heap of broken 
stones, of all sizes, some being very large blocks, from ten to 
twenty, or thirty tons weight. It is about forty feet high, and 
twelve in diameter, having its upper portion cleft, as it were, 
for about one-third down the middle, which gives it a resem- 
blance to the forked branch of an immense tree. It is covered 
with moss and lichen, and, from its peculiar shape and promi- 
nent situation, presents a very remarkable object. 

Near it we observed traces of an Indian visit, among which 
was a horse's skull. From the sterility of the soil and absence 
of fresh water, it is probable that it is but little frequented by 
them. Port Desire is celebrated as being the place where 

* Specimens of this rock are deposited in the Geological Society's 
Aluscum, Nos. 3 and 3 — 1. 

March 1829. skeletons — sea bear bay. • 193 

Schouten, the Dutch navigator, is said to have found skeletons 
measuring eleven or twelve feet in length ! 

Captain Fitz Roy informed me that he had not seen the 
Adelaide since we separated. The Beagle had lost another boat 
in the gale ; the eleventh we have lost in the expedition since 
leaving England. As the Adelaide did not make her appear- 
ance, I determined upon proceeding in the Adventure to Sea 
Bear Bay, a few miles to the southward of Port Desire, to 
await her amval with the Beagle. While standing into the bay, 
we were amused by a chase of a novel description : a guanaco 
■was observed following a fox, which had much difficulty in 
keeping his pursuer at a distance. As the guanaco is not car- 
nivorous, it may have been in playfulness : Reynard, however, 
by his speed, and anxiety to escape, did not seem to think it an 
amusement. How the chase terminated we did not see, for they 
disappeared in a valley. 

While the ship was being moored, I landed to examine some 
■wells near the outer point, which have been said to afford 
some tuns of good water. I found them to be deep holes in the 
solid rock, within the wash of a heavy surf, and large enough 
to contain two hundred gallons of water ; but in one only was 
the water fresh, the sea having broken into the others, and, of 
course, spoiled their contents. They receive the rain from the 
ravines, and are much depended upon by sealing vessels which 
frequent this coast. 

Sea Bear Bay was discovered in the voyage of the Nodales, 
in the year 1618 ; they describe the place, but give it, as it 
deserves, a very poor character. " The port," they say, " for a 
short stay, is not bad, since it affords a good depth of water and 
a clear bottom ; but otherwise it possesses nothing to make it 
worth a ship visiting it, for there is neither wood nor water, 
which are what ships most require." Nodales called the bay 
' Sea Lion,' from the multitude of sea-lions (Phoca jubata) 
found on Penguin Island. Why it has been changed to Sea 
Bear Bay I cannot determine. 

In one of Mr. Tarn's excursions into the country, he observed 
a sail in the offing, which he thought was a whale-boat ; and 

VOL. I. o 

194 FIRE — GUANACOEs. March 1829. 

supposing it might be in distress, if not one of the Adelaide's, 
kindled a fire to attract attention. As the grass was very dry, 
it blazed furiously, and spread rapidly around, yet without 
exciting fear that it could do us any injury ; but the next 
morning flames being observed on the crest of the hills, behind 
the valley in which our tent had been erected, a boat was sent 
to save it, and remove the instruments. Our men had just 
left the ship, when, fanned by a land breeze which rose with 
the sun, the flames flew on with rapidity, descended the valley, 
and before the boat reached the shore, had consumed every 
vestige of the tent, and several articles of minor consequence. 
The sextant and artificial horizon, lying on the ground, escaped 
destruction, and the dipping-needle had fortunately been taken 
on board. Before the fire burned itself out, the whole country 
for fifteen or twenty miles around was completely over-run, so 
that all hope of procuring guanacoes was destroyed. Previous 
to the fire, Mr. Tarn had shot one; but being young, the car- 
case only weighed one hundred pounds, and was scarcely worth 
the trouble of sending fifteen miles for ; however, as an amuse- 
ment to the people, I sent a party to bring it on board, and it 
proved suflicient to furnish the ship's company with a fresh 

We had seen several herds within four miles of the ship 
before the conflagi'ation ; but the country was so very level 
and open, that these shy animals were always warned of the 
approach of our people by their vigilant scouts. So watchful 
and attentive is the look-out at his post, that he never drops his 
head even to feed, and it is only with the greatest cunning and 
care a man can get near the herd. The best way is, to lie con- 
cealed near the water holes, and await their coming to drink. 
A small stream of fresh water trickled over the beach into the 
bay, fringed by a patch of grass which the fire had spared, at 
which having once observed a guanaco drinking, we set a 
watch ; but whether the animals were aware of it or not, none 
came until the morning we sailed, when a small herd walked 
down to the place quite unconcernedly, having no doubt first 
ascertained that there was no danger. 

March 1829- animals — birds — rock. 19& 

The little vessel Mr. Tarn saw was an American sealer, which 
anchored in the bay next morning. 

Besides the guanacoes, and fox, above-mentioned, we saw no 
quadrupeds, although two or three sorts of cavia and the puma 
are common in this neighbourhood. Of birds, nothing interest- 
ing was seen, except a plover {Totanus fuscusf), oyster-catcher 
{^Hoematopus niger, rostro rubro, pedibus albis), and one of the 
night bitterns, very much resembling the young of the Euro- 
pean bird ;* but these three species had previously been found 
at Port Famine. Several lizards were taken, and preserved. 

This extremely sterile and barren country is very unfavour- 
able for animals of any kind. The soil is like that already 
described about Port Desire. The rock is of the same charac- 
ter as at Port St. Elena and Port Desire : red porphyritic 

On the 23d of March, a week having passed since we came 
to Port Desire, my anxiety for the Adelaide's safety was much 
increased; especially as both wind and weather had been favour- 
able for her approach to this rendezvous. I therefore despatched 
Lieut. Wickham overland to Port Desire to order the Beagle 
to join us, and proceed with us to the other points of rendez- 
vous. Port San Julian and Cape Fairweather, Lieut. Wick- 
ham reached Port Desire after a fatiguing walk, and early 
next morning the Beagle was beating into Sea Bear Bay 
against a very strong wind which increased, and detained us. I 
seized tliis opportunity of completing our consort''s provisions 
to five months. Captain Fitz Roy informed me that he had 
taken advantage of his stay at Port Desire, to ascend the inlet 
to the head. It extended for thirty miles, and the water was 
salt to its very extremity ; but, from the height of the old banks 
on each side, it appeared likely that at times there may be con- 
siderable freshes. At the head of the river he lighted a fire, 

• See Zoological Journal, vol. iv. p. 92. 

t Nos. 1 and 2 in the Geological Society's Museum. A new species 
of Solen (Solen Scalprum, nob., Zool. Journ. V. 335. No. 5.) was found 
on the beach ; and the camerated nidus of Buccinum murici/orme, nob., 
Zool. .Journal, I.e. No. 62. 


whicli spread, and soon joined that which Mr. Tarn had made. 
Their union probably burned many square leagues of country. 
On the 27th, we were still detained by a southerly gale. 
Captain Fitz Roy accompanied me in search of Indian graves, 
which are described to be on the summits of the hills. We 
found the remains of two, one of which had been recently dis- 
turbed, but the other had been opened a considerable time. 

No vestiges of bones were left. It is said that the corpse is 
extended in an east and west direction, on the top of the 
highest pinnacle of the hill, and then covered over with large 
stones until secure from beasts of prey. Decomposition takes 
place, or the flesh is consumed by small animals or insects, 
without the bones being removed, so that complete skeletons 
are formed. According to Falkner, the bones are collected at 
a certain period, and removed to some general cemetery, where 
the skeletons are set up, and ti'icked out with all the finery 
the Indians can collect. The avidity they evince for beads and 
other ornamental trifles is, perhaps, caused by this desire of 
adorning the remains of their ancestors. 

The next morning we left Sea Bear Bay and proceeded to 
San Julian, off" which we anchored for a few hours, while Cap- 
tain Fitz Roy entered the port to look for the Adelaide, or for 
some vestige of Lieutenant Graves's visit. Finding nothing in 
the port, nor any tracks upon the shore, we went on towards Cape 
Fairweather, and in our way met the Adelaide. After parting 
from us during the gale in which all her sails were split, she went 
to Port Desire, where she arrived first, and, not seeing us, pro- 
ceeded to the two other places of rendezvous, and had been lying 
at anchor eight days off" Cape Fairweather. Finding we were not 
there, she was returning to Port San Julian, when we met her. 
The weather being calm, so good an opportunity of supply- 
ing the Adelaide with provisions was not lost, and she was 
completed to six months. 

On the 1 st of April we were off" Cape Virgins, and parted 
from the Beagle and Adelaide ; Captain Fitz Roy having pre- 
viously received orders from me to proceed through the Strait of 
Magalhaens, and despatch the Adelaide to survey the Mag- 

April 1829- VESSELS separate — fostek. 197 

dalen and Barbara Channels, while he was to survey part of the 
south shore of the Strait and the Jerome Channel, and then 
proceed, in company with the Adelaide, to Childe. 

The Adventure then proceeded along the coast of Tierra 
del Fuego towards Staten Land, for the purpose of communi- 
cating with the Chanticleer, or obtaining some intelligence of 
her. The appointed rendezvous was New Year's Harbour, and 
the day on which I had promised to be there was past. 

It was so foggy that no part of the coast of Tierra del 
Fuego could be seen ; but as any detention might cause Ca]> 
tain Foster inconvenience, T did not wait for fair weather, but 
went at once to the place appointed. 

^Vhen crossing Strait le Maire, we were very nearly drifted 
through by the tide, which, however, changed just in time to 
admit of our keeping on the north side of Staten Land. 

With a strong squally breeze we entered New Year's Har- 
bour, and seeing nothing of the Chanticleer, should have sailed 
without further investigation, had we not observed a cleared 
white space on one of the islands, which being near the place 
where I had requested Captain Foster to leave a document, I 
concluded was intended to attract our attention. The anclior 
was therefore dropped in twenty-five fathoms (the island bear- 
ing from N. to N.W. ^ W.), nearly in the spot where Captain 
Cook anchored, and a boat was sent to the white mark, near 
which a flag-stafF was observed, at whose foot was a tin canis- 
ter, containing a letter from Captain Foster, which informed 
me of his having been obliged, in consequence of a longer 
detention here than he had anticipated, to alter his arrange- 
ments, and requesting me to meet him at St. Martin's Cove, 
near Cape Horn, about this day. We therefore lost no time in 
getting under weigh, but in doing so, broke an anchor. We 
passed round Cape St. John, and with a fair wind made rapid 
progress to the westAvard. At noon, the next day, being seventy- 
five miles from Cape Horn, bearing W. by S., the high moun- 
tains on the S.E. end of Tierra del Fuego came in sight, 
among which the ' Sugar Loaf'f^j was a conspicuous object. 
fr/J Cainpana, or Bell Mountain. — R. F. 

198 cHANTici.KEii — CAPfi HoiiN. April 1829- 

By an angular measurement of its altitude, and the distance 
given by the chart, its height must be nearly five thousand 
feet, and the average height of its neighbouring mountains full 
three thousand. 

A south-west gale now set in, and delayed our reaching 
Cape Horn until the 16th, when we anchored off the entrance 
of St. Martin''s Cove and found the Chanticleer moored within. 
A boat soon after came with the welcome information of all 
being well on board her. We were not able to warp into the 
Cove until next day, and in doing so found much difficulty, 
owing to the violence of the squalls, which repeatedly obliged 
us to slacken the hawsers quickly, else we should have carried 
them away. 

The Adventure was moored in seventeen fathoms, about a 
cable's length within the low green point on the south side : 
and the Chanticleer lay in ten fathoms near the head of the 
Cove. The summit of Cape Horn being in a line with the 
south point of entrance, we were quite land-locked, and per- 
fectly sheltered from all winds, excepting the williwaws, or 
furious gusts from off the high land, which sometimes suddenly 
struck the ship, and thi'ew her on her broadside ; but being as 
momentary in duration as they were sudden in approach, we 
found them more disagreeable than dangerous. 

During our stay here I made a partial survey of the Bay of 
St. Francis, which has since been completed by Captain Fitz 
Roy. St. Joachim's Cove, to the southward of St. Martin's 
Cove, is more exposed than the latter, but is of easier depth. 
These coves are separated from each other by a steep and 
precipitous mass of hills of greenstone, which in many parts 
appear to be stratified, the dip being to the westward, at an 
angle of 40°. I landed at the point, and ascended the hill, which 
I found more difficult to do than I supposed, the whole surface 
being covered with stunted beech bushes, so thickly matted or 
interwoven tog-ether, that I was obliged to walk or crawl over 
their tops. Among them were occasionally seen the berberis 
ilicifolia and veronica, tlie latter of very small size. Another 
day, Lieutenant Kendall, of the Chanticleer, accompanied me 


to Weddel's Port Maxwell, which is evidently St. Bernard's 
Cove of D'Arquistade-C^J Port Maxwell is contained between 
Jerdan Island, Saddle Island, and a third island, forming a 
triangle. It has four entrances, the principal one being to the 
north of Jerdan Island, and affords tolerable anchorage in the 
centre, in nineteen and twenty fathoms, sand ;* nearer the shores 
of the island the depth is more moderate, but the bottom is 
very rocky. 

The summit of Saddle Island, which I ascended for bearings, 
is composed of large blocks of greenstone rock, on one of which 
the compass (Kater''s Azimuth, without a stand) was placed ; 
but the needle was found to be so much influenced by tlie fer- 
ruginous nature of the rock, composed of quartz and feldspar, 
thickly studded with large crystals of hornblende, that the 
poles of the needle became exactly reversed. An experiment 
was then made, by taking bearings of a very distant object, at 
several stations around, about fifty yards from the magnetic 
rock, when the extreme difference of the results amounted to 
127°. The block upon which the compass stood, in the first 
instance, is now conspicuously placed in the museum of the 
Geological Society. •]■ 

Saddle Island, like the others near it, is clothed with low 
stunted brushwood of beech, berberis, and arbutus, and the 
ground is covered with a species of chamitis, and other moun- 
tain plants. While Mr. Kendall and I were absent from the 
boat, the crew caught several kelp fish, which are very deli- 
cate and wholesome food. On the following day, while going 
with Mr. Kendall to Wollaston Island, we passed a great many 
whales, leaping and tumbling in the water. A blow from one 

(hj I do not think the bay adjacent to Cape Horn is that which was 
named by D'Arquistade ' St. Francis,' and, if my supposition is correct. 
Port Maxwell is not the place which was called ' St. Bernard's Cove.' See 
Second volume. — R. F. 

• According to Capt. Fitz Roy the best berth is in sixteen fathoms. 
(Sail. Directions.) 

t Nos. 2G8 to 271, Geo. Soc. Museum. - . • 


of them would have destroyed our boat, and T was glad to 
cross the Sound without getting within their reach. We returned 
by the west side of Jerdan Island, where there are bights which 
might afford shelter to a small vessel. 

The Sound that separates WoUaston Island from the Bay of 
St. Francis, I named after Sir John Franklin, and the harbour 
to the east of the point on which we landed, after Lieutenant 
Kendall, who was one of Sir John Franklin's companions in 
his last journey to the north-west coast of America. 

On the west point of Kendall Harbour, I observed a mag- 
netic property in the rock, which is of the same character as 
that on Saddle Island. Weddel noticed the same at St. Mar- 
tin's Cove ; but I placed the compass in various parts of that 
cove, without observing any diiFerence from the correct bear- 
ing. This was, perhaps, owing to the rock being much covered 
with soil ; for, being of the same character with that of the 
places above-mentioned, it should cause a similar effect. 

The next day S.W. gales and thick weather set in, and con- 
fined us almost to the ship. Taking advantage of a short inter- 
val of more moderate weather, I ascended the highest peak on 
the south side of the cove, immediately over the anchorage, 
taking two barometers, one of the Englefield construction, 
and the other a syphon barometer, on M. Gay Lussac's plan, 
made by Bunten, of Paris. Mr. Harrison accompanied me, 
taking charge of one barometer, whilst I carried the other. 
My coxswain can-ied a theodolite. On landing, the barometers 
were set up at the edge of the water and read off, and at the 
same moment the barometer on board was read off. We then 
ascended, but the rise was so precipitously steep as to offer very 
great impediments ; and had it not been for a water-course, in 
whose bed Ave climbed for the first part, the ascent, with deli- 
cate instruments, would have been almost impracticable. We 
had ascended but little way, when the unfortunate theodolite 
escaped from my coxswain, rolled down the ravine, and was 
much damaged. It was an excellent magnetic transit, and for 
that purpose was irremediably injured ; but, as a theodolite, 
it was yet useful. The first third of the ascent, from the com- 

April 1829. KATEU'S PEAK — BOTAKY. 20l 

parative facility offered by the water-course, was only impeded 
by loose stones, which frequently yielded to the foot, and 
rolled down the gully, to the great danger of those who fol- 
lowed. The banks of the ravine were saturated with water, and 
covered either with spongy moss, or matted with plants,* which 
afforded no assistance ; had it not therefore been for strag- 
gling shrubs of arbutus, or veronica, and tufts of rushes, grow- 
ing on the steeper parts, we should have had many a fall ; and 
however unimportant we might think bruises and scratches, 
a broken barometer would have been a serious accident, and 
much care was required to avoid it. We had to leave the 
bed of the torrent, when it became full of wood, and then our 
difficulty increased much; for in many places we had to scramble 
over the thickly-matted and interwoven branches of the stunted 
bushes of beech which frequently yielded to our weight, and 
entangled our legs so much, that it was no easy matter to extri- 
cate ourselves. 

At the heiglit of one thousand feet, vegetation became much 
more stunted ; we found the plants and shrubs of very dimi- 
nutive size, consisting principally of the deciduous-leaved 
beech, one plant of which, though not more than two inches 
high, occupied a space of four or five feet in diameter, its 
spreading branches insinuating themselves among wild cran- 
berry, chamitis, donacia, arbutus, and escalonia, so closely 
matted together, as to form quite an elastic carpet. For the 
last two hundred feet, we walked over the bare rock, on whicli 
no other vegetation was observed than lichens. The summit of 
the peak is formed by a loose pile of green-stone rock, in which 
the hornblende appears in very varied forms, sometimes in 
large crystals, and again so small and disseminated, as to be 
scarcely visible; on the summit it is seen, in very long, narrow 
( ? filiform) crystals, and the feldspar predominating, gives it 
a white appearance.*]- 

The only living creatures we saw were a solitary hawk and 

• A species of Gunnera {Dysemore integrifolia, Banks and Solandei-), 
and the green-steuiiued Cineraria {Cin. Icucanthema. Banks and So- 
lander), t Nos. 283 to i'iG, in Geol, Soc. Museum. 

203. BAKOMETEllS — KATKn's PEAK. April IS.'iO. 

one insect, a species of Oniscus. Nothing, in fact, could be 
more desolate, and we had only the satisfaction of a good 
observation for the height, and an excellent bird's-eye view of 
the surrounding islands and channel, to repay us for the labour 
of the ascent. On reaching the top, the barometers were sus- 
pended under the lee of the rock, twelve feet below its summit, 
and I tlien proceeded to set up the theodolite, which I found 
more damaged than I had anticipated ; but not so much as to 
deprive me of a very extensive round of angles, in which \^ere 
contained bearings of the Ildefonso Islands. We were thus 
occupied about an hour and half, which afforded me an oppor- 
tunity of obtaining two good readings of the barometer. 

The view to the N.W. was very extensive, and bounded by 
long ranges of snow-clad mountains of great height ; the atmos- 
phere was remarkably clear, and every object unusually dis- 
tinct. Bearings of the islands of Diego Ramirez would have 
been taken, but for the extreme force of the wind, which more 
than once blew me from the theodolite, and once actually threw 
me on the ground. The temperature was not below 38° ; but, 
owing to the wind, the cold was intense, and the rapid evapo- 
ration produced the most painful sensations, particularly in 
our feet and legs, which were thoroughly wet when we reached 
the top. 

Our descent was not effected in less than an hour and twenty 
minutes, owing to the difficulty of passing through the beech 
thickets ; but we reached the base without injury to the baro- 
meters, which was being more fortunate than I expected. They 
were again set up on the beach, and read; after which we 
returned on board, amply gratified and rewarded for our 

The height of the peak, which, from its vicinity to the sta* 
tion selected by Captain Foster for the pendulum experiments, 
could not receive a more appropriate name than Kater's Peak, 
was found to be 1,742 feet above the high- water mark.* 

The changes of pressure, during the intervals of ascent and descent, 
were obtained by registering the ship's barometer, which was done by 
signal from the stations on shore, when the readings were taken. During 


May 1829- wExVther — captain fostek. 203 

The next day, after a beautifully clear and mild morning, 
with a fresh northerly breeze, the weather became cloudy, and 
the wind veered to the S.W. blowing excessively hard, with 
hail and rain. The gusts, or williwaws, rushed through the 
valley of the cove with inconceivable violence, heaving the ship 
over on her broadside every minute, so that Ave were obliged to 
have every thing lashed as if at sea. Fortunately, we had com- 
pleted wood and water, and now only waited for observations, 
to rate the chronometers, for our run to Valparaiso, whither it 
was my intention to proceed. Days, however, passed without 
a ghmpse of the stars, and the sun only appeared for a few 
minutes above the hills. Captain Foster had completed his 
observations, and embarked all his instruments, excepting the 
transit, which remained for taking the passages of stars ; but 
the bad weather continued, with little intermission. On the 3d, 
the gale was most violent, and the williwaws became short 
hurricanes, in some of which the ship drifted and fouled her 
anchors. On the 10th, we had a dry and fair day, which per- 
mitted us to sight the anchors and moor again. 

The fine weather was of only a few hours duration, when the 
gale again sprung up, and lasted, with little intermission, until 
the day of our departure (the 24th). From the 4th to the 
22d the sky was so perpetually clouded, that the only transits 
obtained in that intei*val were, one of Antares, one of Regulus, 
and one of the limb of the moon, though Captain Foster 
even slept close to the telescope, in the greatest anxiety to 
obtain observations. On the night of the 22d four stars were 

the ascent the column fell 0'039 inches, and during the descent rose 0'041 
inches. Corrections were made for the dew point, as observed by Daniell's 
hygrometer at the base and summit, and the calculations were made 
according to the formula in Daniell's Meteorological Essay. 
The following is the result : 

By Bunten's Syphon. By Jones 509. 

Ascent 1743-4.. 1749-3 

Descent 1738- 1739-1 

Mean. .1741 1744-2 

Mean of the two instruments 1742-4 feet. 


observed, by which the error of the clock was satisfactorily 

Captain Foster''s pluviameter, a cubic foot in size, placed on 
a stand two feet above the ground, at an elevation of forty-five 
feet above the sea, contained eight inches and a quarter of 
rain, after standing thirty days ; therefore, with the quantity 
evaporated, at least twelve inches must have fallen. The day 
after the above was registered, the vessel only contained seven 
inches and a quarter ; so that in twenty-four hours one inch 
had evaporated, by which an idea may be formed of the sort of 
weather we experienced, and of the humidity of the climate. 

With respect to the geological features, I can only add, that 
all the islands on which I landed, and, I believe, all the others, 
are composed of green-stone of various characters. The lower 
portion, or base, being less decomposed, is a fine-grained green- 
coloured rock, in which the component parts are so blended as 
not to be distinguished from each other. It appears sometimes 
in strata, dipping at various angles, from 20° to 45° from the 
vertical ; and is very similar to the rock Avhich alternates with 
granite in the Straits of Magalhaens, at the entrance of the 
Barbara ; and also to that about Pond Harbour, and Bell Bay. 
At a greater elevation the feldspar predominates, the hornblende 
is observed in distinct crystals,* and the rock contains a con- 
siderable quantity of iron, which is observed in the reddish 
tinge of its surface. I have before noticed the magnetic property 
of this rock, which was more or less according to the quantity 
of hornblende : the beach-stones are different sorts of green- 

The lower parts of the hills, around St. Mai'tin's Cove, are 
thickly wooded with the smooth-leaved, evergreen beech, which 
I have before described. Its leaves were as fresh and vivid, 
when we sailed, as if it were the height of summer ; but those 
of the deciduous-leaved beech had assumed their autumnal tint, 
and were falling fast. Neither species attained a greater size, 
in diameter, than six or eight inches. The Winter's-bark was 

• This rock is very similar to the boulders and pebbles which we found 
oii the beach at Point St. Mary (Freshwater Bay). 

May 1829. chanticleer and adventure sail. 205 

found in sheltered places, but not larger in dimensions than 
the beech.* Where no trees are produced, the ground is 
covered with tufts of chamitis and donacia, which, being of 
a bright-green colour, give the sides of the hills a lively and 
verdant appearance. Had the state of the weather permitted 
our boats to leave the neighbourhood of the cove, or had the 
woods afforded any addition to collections for natural history, 
our detention would have been more agreeable ; but, with the 
exception of a few corvorants, divers, and ' steamers,' with now 
and then a solitary hawk, or a Patagonian ' warbler,' we saw 
no traces of animal life. No Indians came near us, having been 
frightened away by the Chanticleer ; for when Captain Foster 
was absent at night, after attempting to land at Cape Horn, 
several rockets were fired off as signals, and a few Indians who 
were then in the cove were so much alarmed, that they went away 
next day, and never afterwards showed themselves, although I 
dare say we were very narrowly watched by them. 

Having supplied the Chanticleer with the provisions she 
required, we prepared to leave -St. Martin's Cove. On the 
24th the Chanticleer sailed, and in two hours after we also 
left this dismal cove, in which we experienced a succession of 
very bad weather, an almost constant S.W. wind, and for the 
last month a scarcely ceasing fall of either rain, hail, or snow. 
The Chanticleer bore away round Cape Horn, and was soon 
out of sight. 

This was my last meeting with Captain Foster, who, the 
night before we sailed, communicated to me a presentiment, 
which he could not shake off, that he should not survive the 
voyage. I cannot now resist indulging in the melancholy satis- 
faction of saying a few words to the memory of my late excellent 

• The underwood is composed chiefly of Arbutus rigida — Berheris 
parvifolia and ilicifolia — {sempervirens of Banks and Solander). VerO' 
nica {decussata ?) and, in moist places, Cineraria leucantheina, and Dyse- 
more integrifolia ; both of which are found in all the sheltered corners 
of Tierradel Fuego. No Fuchsia was seen, but Mr. Anderson gathered 
the sweet-scented Callixene marginata, and a species oi Escalonia, on the 
hill sides. 


friend, and lamenting, with many others, the severe loss wliich 
science suffered in his death. He was a fellow of the Royal, 
and Astronomical Societies, and to the former had contributed, 
to use the words of His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, 
as President of the Royal Society, a most valuable and exten- 
sive series of observations upon the diurnal variation, diurnal 
intensity, and dip of the magnetic needle; and upon other 
subjects connected with the terrestrial magnetism and astro- 
nomical refraction, which formed an entire fourth part of the 
Philosophical Transactions for the year 1826. For these papers 
he received the Copley medal ; and the Lords of the Admiralty 
acknowledged their sense of the honour which was thus con- 
ferred upon the profession to which he belonged, by immediately 
raising him to the rank of Commander, and by appointing him 
to the command of the Chanticleer, upon a voyage of discovery 
and observation in the South Seas. The address of the Presi- 
dent of the Royal Astronomical Society, at the anniversary 
meeting,* also bears ample testimony to his active and useful 
services in the expedition, under Captain Parry, towards the 
North Pole ; as well as to his ardent zeal, very great attention, 
and accuracy, in every thing which he undertook for the pro- 
motion of science ; and concludes the notice of his death in the 
following words : " In the premature death of this young and 
accomplished officer, the Society has to deplore the loss of a 
zealous and active votary to science ; and his memory will be 
long held dear by those who were more intimately acquainted 
with him in the relations of private life." Captain Foster was 
unfortunately drowned, near the close of his voyage, while 
descending the River Chagres in a canoe. 

No sooner had we cleared the land, than we found a strong 
westerly wind, and a heavy sea ; so that if we had entertained 
any expectation of making a quiet passage to the westward, we 
should have been disappointed. 

The land of Hermite Island, and its vicinity, has a most 
remarkable appearance when seen from the south. Its outline 
is a series of peaks, following each other in regular succession, 
• Ann. Meeting, 3fHh Nov. ] 832. 

June 1829. hermite islands — Valparaiso. 207 

and resembling the worn teeth of an old saw. Mount Hyde is 
made sufficiently distinct by its rounded apex, and by being 
higher than any land near it. Kater's Peak also is remarkable 
in this view, from its conical form and very pointed summit, 
and from being situated at the eastern end of the island. The 
* Horn ' itself needs no description ; it cannot easily be mis- 

Westerly winds carried us as far as 60° south latitude before 
we could make any westing, and then we had a slant from the 
eastward, followed by variable winds. Our run to Valparaiso 
was much like all other voyages in this climate ; we had the 
usual quantity of foul and fair winds, with a share of tempes- 
tuous weather, and arrived at Valparaiso Bay on the 22d of 
June. While remaining here our chronometers were cleaned, 
and some of them repaired ; and the ship was refitted and pro- 
visioned, with a full supply for the Beagle and Adelaide as well 
as herself. 

At the latter end of July, Lieutenant Wick ham accompanied 
me to Santiago, the capital of Chile, ninety miles from the port, 
for the purpose of waiting upon General Pinto, the Director; 
and communicating to him the purpose of our voyage, to pre- 
vent exciting suspicion, or receiving any interruption on the 
part of the authorities of places we might visit, particularly 
Childe, where our stay might be viewed with distrust or appre- 
hension ; for rumour had already said that the English were 
about to take that island. Ridiculous as such a report was, I 
deemed it sufficiently important to induce me to explain to the 
-Chilian Government our views and orders, which could be done 
better by personal explanation than by a correspondence. 

We commenced our journey early on the 11th of July, 
travelling in a covered chaise, drawn by three horses, one in 

• The Survey of this part now presents the navigator with the means 
of ascertaining his position, to a nicety, by angles taken with a sextant 
between Cape Horn summit and Jerdan's Peak, or Mount Hyde, and 
Kater's Peak ; and if Jerdan's Pealv and Mount Hyde be brought in a 
line, and an angle taken between them and Cape Horn summit, the ope- 
ration will be still more simple. 


the shafts, and the others outside, attached to the carriage by a 
sino-le trace of hide ; and preceded by a drove of horses, from 
which, at the end of every stage of twelve or fifteen miles, we 
selected a relay. The day was so very stormy, that we saw 
but little of the country. Immediately after leaving the Almen- 
dral, or suburbs of Valparaiso, we ascended twelve hundred 
feet, and then descended about four hundred feet to an extensive 
plain, reaching to the Cuesta de Zapato, the summit of which, 
at least the highest part of the road over it, we found by 
barometrical measurement to be 1,977 feet above the sea. In 
the interval we passed through the village of Casa Blanca, 
lying eight hundred and three feet above the sea. After passing 
the Cuesta de Zapato, between it and the Cuesta de Prado, 
is another extensive valley, through which runs the River 
Poangui. At Curacavi, where we crossed the river, the height 
above the sea is six hundred and thirty-three feet;* and the 
road proceeds by a gentle ascent to the foot of the Cuesta de 
Prado, near which is the village of Bustamente, eight hundred 
and eight feet above the sea. 

This ' cuesta' is passed by a very steep road, and is ascended 
by twenty-seven traverses, which carry one to a height of 2,100 
feet above the plain, or 2,950 feet above the sea. When we 
reached the summit of this mountain the weather was so cloudy, 
that the Andes were almost concealed from view. Beneath us 
was the extensive plain of Maypo, with the city of Santiago 
in the distance, a view of considerable extent, and possessing 
very great interest ; but from the state of the weather, its 
beauty would not have been seen to advantage, had not portions 
of the towering Andes, raised by optical deception to apparently 
twice their height, appeared at intervals among the clouds. On 

* Miers, in his account of Chile, gives a table of barometrical mea- 
surements of the heights of the land between Valparaiso and Mendoza, 
from which it appears that he has deduced the height of Curacavi to be 
1,560 feet. As my determinations are the results of observations made 
on my way to and from Santiago, T have no doubt of their correctness, and 
think that the registered height of Miers's table should be 29'355 instead 
of 28-355. 


July 1829. PINTO DIRECTOR, 209 

a fine day, when the range of mountains is uncovered, the view 
is grand ; but not so imposing as when their lower portions are 
concealed, and their summits partially exposed. This part of 
the Andes rises about 11,000 feet above the plain, and is covered 
half way down the sides with snow, the lower edge of which is 
regularly defined, and presents a change of colour so abrupt 
and horizontal as to appear unnatural, and therefore diminish 
the grandeur of the scene very much. But under whatever 
circumstances this view is seen from the Cuesta de Prado, it is 
magnificent, and produces an effect beyond description. The 
road descends down the eastern side of this Cuesta, to a plain 
about 1,100 feet below the summit. So much rain had fallen 
during the two preceding days, and last night, that our driver 
expressed some doubt whether we should be able to cross the 
Podaguel, a river which is frequently impassable from the 
strength of its current. The idea of spending a night at the 
miserable hovel we were leaving was enough to induce us to 
run a considerable risk, and we set off to make the attempt. 
The water was very deep, and the current sufficiently strong 
to render it a performance of some danger ; but, this difficulty 
being passed, we soon reached the city of Santiago, and in the 
house of Mr. Caldcleugh, enjoyed the hospitality and society 
of a warm-hearted friend. 

I waited on the Director (Pinto), who received me with the 
greatest politeness. He entered into the particulars of our past 
voyage with much interest, assuring me that every facility should 
be afforded, and every assistance rendered, whenever it might 
be required ; and in this assurance we never found ourselves 
deceived, for on all occasions the conduct of the executive 
authorities towards us was marked in attention, and even kind- 
ness. I make this observation with the more pleasure, as it i.^ 
was very unusual in our communications with the authorities 
of those governments we had previously visited, to find the 
objects of our voyage considered in the least interesting. 

Although the weather, during our visit to Santiago, was not 
there considered fine, wc left the city and its neighbourhood 
with a strong impression of the salubrity of the climate, and the 

VOL. I. p 

gid HEIGHTS CHILOE. AugUSt 1829- 

mildness of its temperature, which even in the middle of winter, 
and at the height of nearly 2,000 feet above the sea, ranged no 
lower than 45° Fahrenheit, and during the day the maximum 
height of the thermometer never exceeded 62°*(k) 

We "returned to Valparaiso on the 26th of July, and made 
preparations to sail ; but were detained by a strong northerly 
gale for many days, in which we were enabled to render assis- 
tance to a large Indian trader that would otherwise have been 
wrecked. On the 10th of August, we sailed for Chiloe ; and 
on our way were greatly delayed by southerly winds, which 
carried us in sight of the island of Juan Fernandez. We 
reached our destination on the 26th, and found the Beagle, to 
our great delight, arrived, and all well. Captain Fitz Roy 
came on board before we anchored, and gave me an outline of 
his proceedings, and those of the Adelaide, which had not 

* The following are the results of the barometrical determination of 
the height of various points on the road between Valparaiso and San- 
tiago : — 

Feet above the sea. 

Casa Blanca, ten leagues from Valparaiso 803 

Highest point of the road over the Cuesta de Zapata 1,977 

Inn at Curacavi o^^ 

Plain near Bustamente 808 

Summit of Cuesta de Prado (not certain to 200 feet) 2,949 
Inn, or post-house, at the base of the east side of the 

Cuesta de Prado 1,804 

Santiago, by mean of numerous observations 1,821 

Miers makes the above places above the sea as follows : — 

Feet above the sea. 

Casa Blanca 7^5 

Summit of Cuesta de Zapata . . 1 jS-'iO 

Curacavi 1>560 

Summit of Cuesta de Prado 2,543 

Post-house, Prado 1,773 

Santiago, mean of two observations 1,691 

Do. by Malespina.... 2,463 ■> ^ ., r2,254-\^ 

Do. Mercurio Chileno l,693j/ ^P^"^^^ ll,550/^"^''^''- 

CJcJ Sharp frosts sometimes occur. — R. F. 

August 1829. ALDUNATE — YNTENUEXTE, 211 


returned, but was daily expected, having been despatched to 
survey some interior channels on her way to Chiloe. Our 
anchorage was off Point Arenas, which is not only the best in 
the bay, but appeared to be well adapted to our wants. The 
Beagle had arrived early in July, and had sent to Valparaiso 
for stores with which to refit, and make preparations for another 
cruize to the south. 

The harbour master, Mr. Williams, an Englishman, visited 
us soon after our anchoring, and by him I forwarded to the 
Yntendente (or governor), Don Jose Santiago Aldunate, the 
letters brought for him from Chile. 

In the afternoon I received his acknowledgments, and offers 
of all the assistance in his power to render. As it was probable 
that our stay would occupy some weeks, I established myself 
at a house in the town, obtained by his kindness ; and there 
fixed my portable observatory, and set up an azimuth altitude 



Beagle and Adelaide anchor in Possession Bay — Beagle passes the First 
Narrow — Fogs — Pecket Harbour — Adelaide arrives with Guanaco- 
meat — Portuguese Seamen— Peculiar light — Party missing — Return — 
Proceed towards Port Famine — Fuegians — Lieut. Skyring — Adelaide 
sails to survey Magdalen and Barbara Channels — Views — Lyell Sound 
— Kempe Harbour — Cascade Bay — San Pedro Sound — Port Gallant — 
Diet — Rain — Awnings — Boat cruise — Warning — Jerome Channel — 
Blanket bags — Otway Water — Frequent rain — Difficulty in lighting 

The followino- is an account of the Beaerle's and Adelaide's 
operations, after separating from the Adventure, on the 1st of 
April, at the entrance of the Strait of Magalhaens. 

Light northerly winds were favourable for their entering the 

Strait, and they reached Possession Bay the first night. The 

following day was foggy, and almost calm, until the afternoon, 

when both vessels weighed, and proceeded with the tide. At 

sunset the Adelaide anchored on the north shore ; but the 

Beagle stood on, and entered the Narrow. After dark, when 

within it, with a rapid tide running, the wind fell light, and 

an anchor was let go, under the north shore, in eight fathoms ; 

but the cable being accidentally checked too soon, snapped like 

a small rope, and the vessel was hustled out into deep water. 

As it would have been both useless and imprudent to let go 

another anchor, the Beagle was kept underweigh, and worked 

to the westward, aided by a very powerful tide, which speedily 

carried her through the Narrow, without accident, although 

the night was dark ; and they had no guide but the chart and 

lead. At eleven o'clock she was anchored within the Narrow, 

in twelve fathoms, soon after which the tide turned, and ran 

with great strength ; but the night was calm, as well as the 

next morning. 

While waiting for wind, and the change of tide, several 
Patagonian Indians were observed on horseback hunting gua- 

April 1829- CKANBEllRIES THICK FOGS. 213 

nacoes. A very large dead cod-fish was also seen, floating 
past, which was taken on board ; on its skin were several 

With the evening tide the Beagle reached Gregory Bay; and 
the next day (April 4th) worked through the Second Narrow, 
and anchored in Pecket Harbour. 

As soon as she arrived people were sent on shore to make a 
large fire, to show the natives where the ship was, and attract 
them to her. Next morning, the 5th, it had spread verymucli, 
and overrun several acres of ground, which showed either a 
very dry soil, or that there had not been much rain for some 
time. The ground was covered with cranberries ; so much so, 
that it had quite a red tinge ; they were very good. Plenty of 
wild celery was found, but no wood of any kind. Water was 
obtained in small quantities, from a spring about eighty yards 
from the beach, abreast of the anchorage : it may also be pro- 
cured by sinking wells. Early on the 6th of April the Adelaide 
anchored near the Beagle. Captain Fitz Roy went on board, 
and found that Lieutenant Graves had seen the Indians in 
Gregory Bay ; and had anchored there for the purpose of 
obtaining guanaco meat, of which he got about nine hundred 
pounds weight. Thick fogs had prevented his getting through 
the First Narrow until the 4th. At Gregory Bay, Lieutenant 
Graves took three Portuguese seamen on board, who claimed 
his protection, having been left by an English sealing vessel 
nearly a year before. One of them asked to be again put 
ashore, and was landed on Quoin Hill to carry a message to 
the Indians, from whom he promised to bring a supply of meat 
in two days. The other two were entered on the books as 
supernumeraries, and employed in the Adelaide. Having given 
the Beagle two-thirds of the meat, the Adelaide weighed ; and 
in two houi*s was out of sight, on her way to Port Famine. 

• Probably tbey are the same as we observed on the fish taken by us 
off Cape Fairweather, and which, I believe, to be nearly allied to the 
one that is figured in Cuvier's R^gne animal, Plate XY. figure 5, a 
species of Lcrucca, or Entomuda of Lamarck, iii. 233. The species 
is new. 


The following are extracts from Captain Fitz Roy's journal 
of this cruise of the Beagle. 

" Monday 7th April. Several of our people were employed 
in gathering cranberries, and preserving them for future use ; 
they are anti-scorbutic, as well as the wild celery, much of 
which has been vised with our guanaco soup. 

" Wednesday, 8th. I went to Oazy Harbour with Lieute- 
nant Skyring, who surveyed the harbour while I examined the 
cove to the northward. 

" Oazy Harbour appears large, but the part where there is 
anchorage is very small, and a strong tide sets in and round it, 
by which a bank is thrown up, a short distance inside the 
entrance ; there is very little wood, and some difficulty in 
obtaining fresh water, even in a small quantity. The anchorage 
outside might be moi-e convenient for procuring guanaco meat 
from the Indians than Gregory Bay, but it is exposed to winds 
between W.S.W. and S.S.E. 

" At my return to the Beagle, I was much surprised to find 
that Lieutenant Kempe, Mr. Bynoe, and a boy, had not yet 
come back from a shootinsr excursion. A boat had been to the 
appointed place at sun-set, and had waited an hour without 
seeing them. At seven, a light was seen on the top of Quoin 
Hill, and I sent a boat to the spot, with cautions about land- 
ing, being in doubt whether it was shown by them or by the 
Indians ; but the boatswain, who went with her, could find no 
person, nor any light. He waited some time, and returned on 
board. (Z) A similar light was again seen, more than once, during 
the dark and gloomy weather, with small misty rain falling, 
and a light breeze from the westward, which we had all night. 

" Thursday, 9th. No signs of our officers, nor any appearance 
of the Indians. Fearing that some accident had happened, I sent 
two boats away, with arms and provisions, to look for them all 
round the harbour, and the large lagoon which communicates 

ClJ This was a remarkable instance of what I often observed afterwards 
In those regions, a kind of ' ignis fatuus,' which sometimes was stationary, 
like the light of alanthorn, and at others suddenly flitting, like the flashes 
of pistols, at a distance. It was only seen upon the lower hills. — R. F. 

April 1829. STRAGGLEKS ItETURN — I'llOCEED. S15 

with it. Both boats were thoroughly cautioned about the 
Indians, for I had thoughts of their treachexy. Just as the 
boats got out of sight, three people were observed on the ridge 
of a hill, about six miles distant ; and, at the same time two 
other persons appeared, much nearer the ship, on the east side 
of the harbour. Which was our party, and who the others 
were, it was perplexing to say. Both disappeared again for 
about two hours, when our stragglers came over a hill, very 
near the ship. Upon their arrival on board, they were scarcely 
able to move : they had been on their legs, almost without 
food, and without shelter from the rain, since they left the 
ship. Their intention had been to walk round the harbour, 
which appeared an employment for two hours only ; but at 
its head they found a lake, and beyond that lake a much 
larger one, joined to the first by a passage, which they could 
not cross. When they arrived at this passage, it was too late 
to return by the way they went, and their best chance seemed 
to be going on. After dark, they tried to make a fire, but the 
rain prevented them. It was too dark to see their way, and the 
cold rain obliged them to keep moving about, though in one 
place. When daylight came, they travelled on, and until they 
reached the ship at two o'clock, were constantly walking. 

" The other people seen by us must have been Indians ; 
none were met by our wanderers, but several places were passed 
where fires had been made by them. 

" April 10th. Directly our boats returned, we weighed and 
made sail ; but the wind soon failed, and the tide setting against 
us, obliged me to anchor. 

" April 11th. Made sail towards the passage between Eliza- 
beth Island and Cape Negro, and anchored there to wait for 
the tide, which ran past us when at anchor, at the rate of three 
knots an hour. About Cape Negro the appearance of the land 
entirely changes. A low barren country gives way to hills 
covered with wood, increasing in height, and becoming more 
rocky and mountainous as you go southward. 

" On the 13th, when working near the land, against a light 
southerly breeze, we saw a small canoe paddling along shore, 


and some people walking on the beach. While the ship was 
standing off, I went to them, being the first savages I had ever 
met. In the canoe were an old woman, her daughter, and a 
child, and on shore were two Fuegian men with several dogs. 
Their figures reminded me of drawings of the Esquimaux, 
being rather below the middle size, wrapped in rough skins, 
with their hair hanging down on all sides, like old thatch, and 
their skins of a reddish brown colour, smeared over with oil, 
and very dirty. Their features were bad, but peculiar; and, if 
physiognomy can be trusted, indicated cunning, indolence, 
passive fortitude, deficient intellect, and want of energy. I 
observed that the forehead was very small and ill-shaped ; the 
nose was long, narrow between the eyes, and wide at the point ; 
and the upper lip, long and protruding. They had small, re- 
treating chins ; bad teeth ; high cheek-bones ; small Chinese 
eyes, at an oblique angle M'ith the nose ; coarse hair ; wide 
ill-formed mouths, and a laugh as if the upper lip were im- 
moveable. The head was very small, especially at the top and 
back ; there were very few bumps for a craniologist. They 
asked earnestly for ' tabac, tabac,'' but seemed very timid. We 
bartered some biscuit and old knives for a few of their arrows, 
skins, spears, &c. 

" Their canoes, twenty-two feet long, and about three wide, 
were curiously made of the branches of trees, covered with 
pieces of beech-tree bark, sewed together with intestines of 
seals. A fire was burning in the middle, upon some earth, and 
all their property, consisting of a few skins and bone-headed 
lances, was stowed at the ends. 

" The young woman would not have been ill-looking, had 
she been well scrubbed, and all the yellow clay with which she 
was bedaubed, washed away. I think they use the clayey mix- 
ture for warmth rather than for show, as it stops the pores of 
the skin, preventing evaporation and keeping out the cold air. 
Their only clothing was a skin, thrown loosely about them ; 
and their hair was much like a horse's mane, that has never 
been combed. 

" April l^th. Anchored in Port Famine. 

April 1829. LIEUT. SKYRING — ADELAIDE — VIEW. 217 

" April 16th. Lieutenant Skyring went on board the Ade- 
laide with Mr. Kirke, five seamen, and one of the Beagle's 
whale-boats. Mr. Bynoe, the assistant-surgeon, also went as a 

" April 17th. The Adelaide sailed to survey the Magdalen 
and Barbara Channels; after which she was to rejoin the Beagle 
at Port Gallant. She soon got into a strong southerly wind, and 
could make no progress, as the current was against her ; she 
therefore again stood into the bay, and anchored. 

" A sharply cold night made us remember we were far south, 
although the weather by day had been mild. I have said 
little about this anchorage, as it has already been described. 
The appearance of the surrounding country is striking and 
picturesque. Mount Tarn, with its patches of snow, rising 
from thick woods, and the high snow-covered mountains in the 
distance, with dark blue sea at their base, are very remarkable 

" We sailed on the 19th with the Adelaide, which had been 
prevented from going sooner by strong and unfavourable winds: 
and about noon we parted from our consort, whose course was 
southerly, into the Magdalen Channel, while we went towards 
LyeU Sound. 

" I cannot help here remarking, that the scenery this day 
appeared to me magnificent. Many ranges of mountains, besides 
Mount Sarmiento, were distinctly visible, and the continual 
change occurring in the views of the land, as clouds passed 
over the sun, with such a variety of tints of every colour, from 
that of the dazzling snow to the deep darkness of the still 
water, made me wish earnestly to be enabled to give an idea of 
it upon paper ; but a necessary look-out for the vessel, not 
having a commissioned officer with me who had been in the 
Strait before, kept my attention too much occupied to allow 
me to make more than a few hasty outlines. Under the high 
land the Beagle had but little wind, and night closed upon us 
before we could gain an anchorage in Lyell Sound, so we shor- 
tened sail after dark, and kept near mid channel until the 


" The night was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen ; 
nearly calm, the sky clear of clouds, excepting a few large 
white masses, which at times passed over the bright full moon : 
whose light striking upon the snow-covered summits of the 
mountains by which we were surrounded, contrasted strongly 
with their dark gloomy bases, and gave an effect to the scene 
which I shall never forget. 

" At daylight, on the 20th, we were close to Lyell Sound, 
and stood along its west side, looking for an anchorage, until 
we found a very good harbour, about a mile inside Mazaredo 

" I then went away, with two boats, to examine the Sound, 
leaving the master to sound and plan the inner harbour. 

" Kempe Harbour, within Lyell Sound, would hold six large 
ships in security ; but, like most of the harbours hereabouts, 
access is difficult, on account of the squalls off the high land, 
which are so irregular, and often violent. 

" During the night of the 21st, it blew strong in squalls, 
and the chain-cable kept us awake by rattling very much over 
rocks ; yet when the anchor was hove to the bows next morn- 
ing, it appeared to have been well bedded in stiff clay. To 
these sounds we afterwards became familiarised. 

" Wednesday, 22d. Strong squalls from the south-eastward 
during the night, and in the morning; when, being anxious to 
reach Cascade Bay, I weighed, though the weather was thick, 
and the wind against us. The flaws were so variable, that we 
were two hours knocking the helm and sails about before we 
could clear the anchorage, and move half a mile in still water. 
I should recommend warping in and out of these harbours, in 
preference to making sail : as it is far easier, if a ship is pro- 
vided with small hawsers and kedges: and the hawsers can 
often be made fast to the rocks, or roots of trees. 

" The tide rises about four feet in Kempe Harbour ; and 
there is a place where a vessel might be grounded or careened 
with perfect safety. 

" Mazaredo Peak (Bougainville's Sugar Loaf) is an excel- 
lent guide to Kempe Harbour ; the valley-like appearance of 

April 1829. CASCADE bay — SAN PEDKO SOUKD. 219 

the land also shows its situation to a vessel in the Straits. What 
at first appears to be Lyell Sound is Kempe Harbour, the 
Sound hes more to the left. 

" After passing Mazaredo Point, the land is rugged and 
less woody ; it is not very high, and has a peculiar, rounded 
appearance, like the tops of loaves of bread. 

" There was slate in Kempe Harbour, which seemed to me 
fit for roofing purposes. 

" In Cascade Bay we found the abundance of limpets and 
muscles usual on these shores, and of particularly good quality. 
The Indians live almost entirely upon them and sea-eggs, though 
birds, and occasionally a seal, add to their subsistence. Vege- 
tation, both on shore and in the water, is most abundant. At 
every step one sinks knee-deep in moss, grass, fern, or low 
bushes. Trees seem to arrive but seldom at perfection ; the 
cbniate is so moist that they rot while growing, before they 
attain any size. IVIoss grows every where; each bough is 
covered with it : and the water appears to be as favourable to 
the growth of kelp as the land is to that of plants. The large 
kind {Fucus giganteus) shoots up, from many fathoms depth, 
to the surface, with strong stalks and large leaves. 

" 23d. A bad day ; blowing strong, and at times raining. 
Mr. Murray, Mr. Stokes, and I, went with three boats to con- 
tinue our work of exploring and sounding. 

" Saturday, 25th. We weighed and made sail; but the breeze 
failed, and flaws came against us. While laying out warps, 
and hanging by the stream-cable, a squall took the ship and 
drove her against the rocks, but without doing her any injury, 
for they were quite wall-sided. The main-yard and spanker- 
boom were among the trees. We again laid out wai'ps, and had 
made some progress, when another strong squall obliged us to 
go back into our anchorage, to remain until the hail, snow, 
wind, and rain should cease. 

" 26th. An unpromising and wet morning ; but the heavy 
rain being over, we weiglied, and in a few hours reached the 
Western side of San Pedro Sound. 

" About a mile from the point we anchored in INIurray Cove, 


which affords good shelter from westerly winds, and is very 
easy of access, being a small roadstead rather than a harbour. 
*' 27th. We set out early with the boats, but the weather 
was too bad to do much ; however, something was done, and 
at dusk we went ashore on a small island in the Sound. It 
rained very hard all the afternoon and during part of the night. 
We sheltered ourselves as well as we could with the boat's 
sails and tarpaulins ; but during the night the wind shifted, 
and blew so hard, that it threw down our slight shelter, and 
made me very anxious about the ship ; for I was doubtful of 
the security of the anchoragr where she lay. 

" 28th. This morning was very cold, it rained hard and 
blew strong ; but when it cleared away for a short time, we 
set to work again, to explore what appeared to be a channel. 

" After a three hours' pull against wind, snow, and hail, 
my channel proved to be only one of the numerous inlets which 
encroach upon the Fuegian territory; and the boats returned 
to the Beagle, with the help of strong squalls from the S.W. 
I was not a little glad to see the ship in the place where I had 
left her. During the night another anchor had been let go ; 
but she had not moved from her position. This anchorage is so 
easy of access, that I hope it will be of use to vessels passing 
through the Strait. There is room for one large sized ship to 
lie convenientlv, or for two or three small craft. 

" The weather has not yet been so cold as I expected it 
would be : snow lies on the deck a short time, but the thermo- 
meter has not been lower than 31° (Fahrenheit). 

" 29th. A rainy, blowing morning : Mr. Stokes and I set 
out in the boats ; but it rained so much, that we could only 
make a fire to dry our clothes, and remove the numbness, caused 
by sitting a long time in the wet. 

" On the 3d of May, we anchored in Port Gallant : though 
perfectly secure, this is a dismal harbour in winter, being so 
surrounded by high mountains, that the sun is seldom visible. 
Until the 7th, in addition to our usual daily duties, we were 
occupied in preparing for an excursion, in boats, to the Jerome 
Channel. Salt provisions were entirely withheld from the crew 

May 1829. food — awxixgs — boat cruise. 221 

for three days, and instead of them, preserved mea(^ shell-fish, 
and a large pig, brought from Monte Video, were substituted. 
We found in this, as in almost every Fuegian harbour, abun- 
dance of muscles, limpets, and wild celery ; some fish and some 
wild-fowl. Many of our party thought shags good eating, but 
only one person could be found daring enough to try whether 
old Sir John Narborough was quite warranted in saying that 
a fox was ' savoury food,' and that one repented of his experi- 
ment during a week's serious illness. 

" My reason for entirely stopping the use of salt-meat, for a 
few days, was the belief that, at least, two or three days' change 
of diet is necessary to cause any real alteration in the system ; 
and that it is better to give fresh provisions for three days in 
succession, and salt-meat during the remainder of three weeks, 
than to give fresh-meat at three separate intervals in the same 

" During the wet weather of these regions, we derived great 
benefit from awnings, painted for the purpose, while refitting at 
Rio de Janeiro and Maldonado : they kept the lower, and a 
great part of the upper deck quite dry, even in heavy rain. 

" May 7th. Mr. Stokes and I set out with a cutter and 
whale-boat, to explore the Jerome Channel. We were well 
provided, with as much as the boats could stow, of what we 
thought likely to be useful during a month's cruise. Of water 
we took but little, trusting to the wetness of these regions for 
a supply. Each man had his clothes covered with canvas, or 
duck, well painted ; and instead of a hat, every one had a 
' south-wester' (like a coal-heaver's cap). 

" Our provisions, being sufficient for twenty-eight days, 
made the boats rather deep ; and I soon found the cutter 
pulled very heavily, and was obliged to take her in tow. All 
our party slept in the cutter the first night, the whale-boat 
being made fast astern. Towards midnight it blew fresh, and 
as the boats were anchored near the wash of the beach, they 
rolled a good deal ; and soon afterwards, feeling the whale- 
boat hanging heavily on her rope, I hauled her up alongside, 
and found she was almost swamped ; in a few minutes she 


must hav# sunk with all her heavy cargo, to us invaluable. 
The plug had worked out by her rolling : — I seldom left her 
afloat at night after this warning. Having saved the boat, 
made me think less of all our things being wetted, and of some 
of the instruments being almost spoiled. 

" At daylight, on the 8th, we pulled along shore, with the 
wind against us, and reached Point York before the tide made 
strongly ; but that place we could not pass ; and sooner than 
give up an inch of ground, let go our grapnels, in the middle of 
a race of tide, that tumbled in over both gunwales, and ran past 
us at the rate of five knots. At one p.m. it slackened, and we 
pulled on into Bachelor River, very glad to get so good a place 
to dry our clothes, and put the boats to rights. Three deserted 
wigwams gave us shelter ; and while some made fires, others 
went to collect shell-fish, or shoot birds. Though the season 
was so far advanced, some shrubs were in flower, particularly 
one, which is very like a jessamine, and has a sweet smell. 
Cranberries and berberis-berries were plentiful : I should have 
liked to pass some days at this place, it was so very pretty; 
the whole shore was like a shrubbery. I cannot account for the 
exaggerated accounts of the Fuegian coasts given by some 
voyagers : it is true that the peaks of the mountains are 
covered with snow, and those sides exposed to the prevailing 
west winds are barren, and rugged ; but every sheltered spot 
is covered with vegetation, and large trees seem to grow almost 
upon the bare rock. I was strongly reminded of some of the 
Greek islands in winter, when they also have a share of snow 
on their mountains. 

May 9th. The tide carried our boats rapidly up the Jerome 
Channel, which, though narrow, is quite free from danger. 
The west shore is very high, and steep, and well covered with 
wood ; the eastern is lower, and less woody. 

" Having passed this channel, we entered the mysterious 
Indian Sound, with all that anxiety one feels about a place, of 
which nothing is known, and much is imagined. I hoped to find a 
lai-ge river ; and the strong tide setting up the channel convinced 
me that there was a body of water inland, but of what nature 

May 1829. blanket bags — view. 223 

remained to be discovered. At dusk we put into a small creek, 
and secured the boats, hauling up the whale-boat on the sand. 
When too late to remove, we found the place of our bivouac 
so wet and swampy, that nearly two hours were occupied in 
trying to light a fire. Supper and merry songs were succeeded 
by heavy rain, which continued throughout that night and 
the next day without intermission. 

"10th. Continual hard rain prevented our moving : the whale- 
boat's men were thoroughly drenched in their tent during the 
night ; but made a better one in the morning. The cutter, having 
a tarpaulin cover, gave her crew a better lodging; and although 
a small and loaded boat, only twenty-four feet long, could not 
be expected to allow much room to a dozen sleepers, during 
such weather, with the help of our blanket bags,(«?) we did 
very well. 

"11th. During this night, also, it rained very hard. Early 
the next morning, however, it cleared a little, and we got 
under-weigh. When in the fair-way our hopes were much ex- 
cited ; for beyond a high island, like a sugar-loaf, appeared 
an opening without land. I tasted the water repeatedly, fancy- 
ing it less salt, and that we were approaching a river. 

" Less salt it might have been, from the number of water- 
falls dashing down the mountains on each side of the 
channel, which is here about two miles wide, with a current, 
or rather stream of tide, running at the rate of two knots an 

" At noon, we reached the Sugar Loaf : it cost a struggle 
to get to the top with the instruments ; but the view repaid 
me. For three points of the compass towards the north-east, I 
could see no land, except two islands ; and the farthest extreme 
to the eastward, appeared to me distant, at least, thirty miles. 
No mountains or high land could be seen to the north or east ; 
the country seemed there to change its character, and become 

fmj Each officer and man, when detached from the Beagle during a 
night, carried a blanket, or large poncho (sfewed up, and with a drawing- 
string, like a large bag), in which they slept, and found much comfort and 
warmth. — R. F. 


lower and less wooded. This was, indeed, an animating view : 
I stood considering what might be the boundary of this water, 
till I recollected, that the longer I thought about it, the longer 
I should be finding it out ; so we pushed on with the boats, of 
course taking the necessary bearings and angles, until we 
reached the ' Point of Islets' in ' Otway Water.' 

" On the 12th, our oars were going early. 

" The two islands, 'Englefield' and ' Vivian,' were the only 
land upon the horizon for six points of the compass. The 
southern coast trended away nearly east from Cape Charles, pre- 
serving the high mountainous character of the Fuegian shores, 
while that to the northward was low, though as yet well wooded. 

" I was nearly tempted to try whether Fanny Bay led towards 
the Gulf of Xaultegua ; but fortunately did not, as I should 
have regretted the time so employed. 

" Point Hamond is thickly- wooded with evergreens, similar 
to those of the Strait ; and with a species of pine, about thirty 
or forty feet in height. 

" To the S.E. three remarkable promontories stand out in 
bold relief from the Fuegian shore ; but beyond them the land 
sinks into the tame flatness of Patagonia. 

" The water on the west shore is not deep ; from ten to thirty 
fathoms at a quarter of a mile off shore, but getting more 
shallow advancing northward. There is anchorage for a vessel 
after passing Indian Channel, the whole way along ; and as the 
prevailing winds are off shore, it would generally be safe. In 
Indian Channel I only know of two anchorages, Cutter Bay 
and Bendins: Cove. 

" Such constant rain fell during this evening, that it was 
not until after much trouble that we at last made fires. Carry- 
ing dry fuel in the boats we found indispensable, and I would 
recommend any person who passes a night on shore in this wet 
climate, with a boat, to carry a sheet of copper, or a piece of 
flat iron, in preference to any boat-stove, as a fire can be lighted 
upon it much more easily, and it does not take much stowage : 
the great difficulty about fires here is getting fuel to burn 
when the ground is wet, or when snow lies on it. 

May 1829. englefield island — no water. 


" 13th. Raining so steadily all day, that it was useless to 
proceed : I could neither see my way, nor notice any thing 
but wind and rain. 

" 14th. So mild was the weather, that I bathed this morn- 
ing, and did not find the water colder than I have felt it in 
autumn on the English coast ; its temperature, at a foot below 
the surface, averaged 42° ; that of the air was 39°. From this 
place, Point Hamond, I saw seven points of the compass clear 
of land, my eye being twenty feet above the level of the sea. 
The water was quite salt, therefore we were certain of being 
in an unexpected inland sea, or large lagoon. Four miles from 
Point Hamond lie Englefield and Vivian Islands, rather low, 
but well wooded with evergreens. They are the only islands of 
any note in the Otvvay Water. The farthest point I could 
discern I called Cape Marvel, for much I wondered at the 
hitherto unsuspected extent of this inlet. 

" At noon we were off the north end of Englefield Island. 
Mr. Stokes and I observed the sun's meridian altitude satis- 
factorily from the boats, so smooth was the water. This quiet 
day was too fine, for it was hard work pulling from nine till 
five, without any help from sails. Towards evening a breeze 
sprung up in our favour, and with its assistance we ran along 
the land about ten miles. Taking advantage of the moonlight, 
I did not look out for a resting-place till past seven o'clock, 
when we had a great deal of trouble in landing ; the coast 
having quite changed its character ; and instead of deep water 
with a rocky shore, we found a flat shingly beach and shoal 
water, with very large stones scattered between high and low 
water marks, so numerously as to make it dangei'ous for a 
boat, especially at night. Upon landing, we foimd the ground 
quite changed into a fine light soil, with stunted bushes and 
trees ; and so dry was the wood, that a fire was easily kindled, 
but not a drop of water could be got any where to cook our 
supper. A considerable rise and fall of tide was observed, much 
greater than near Indian Channel. 

" 15th. No breakfast this morning,' for want of water — a 
decided proof of the change of climate and country. North of 

VOL. I, o 


US the sky was clear ; but to the southward, over the Strait, 
hung thick clouds. The trees were not evergreen, and at this 
time their leaves were withered and falling. 

" While pulling along shore, and passing a low projecting 
point, we saw the smoke of three fires, and approaching nearer, 
observed four canoes lying on the beach, near several wig- 
wams. Their owners soon ajipeared, running along the shore, 
hallooing and jumping. The first who came near us reminded 
me of an old-fashioned sign of the ' Red Lion,' for he was 
painted red all over, and looked more like a wild beast than a 
human being; another was covered with a bluish mixture; a 
third was quite black. Several had the lower half of the face 
blacked, and the oldest men and women were painted entirely 
black. There were about eight men, six or eight boys, and 
perhaps a dozen women and girls. Some had a skin over their 
shoulders, but others had no covering at all, except paint ; 
they seemed apprehensive, and hid several skins and other 
things in the wood, as soon as they saw us approaching. 

" When they found we were peaceably disposed, and had 
tobacco and knives, they were eager to barter with us. How 
they have learned the use of tobacco is curious, but they are 
fond of it to excess. Guanaco, as well as seal and otter skins, 
are in their possession ; therefore they probably barter with 
the Patagonians. They have also the skins and horns of a deer, 
which, as I understood them, inhabits their country. (^mJ They 
catch small animals with snares, made of whalebone, just like 
hare-snares. This tribe was very rich in Fuegian wealth, 
such as skins, arrows, lances, &c. They appeared to be of a 
race similar, but superior, to the Fuegians, being stronger, 
stouter, more lively, and more active. I persuaded one of their 
boys to have his face washed, and found his natural com- 
plexion was scarcely darker than that of a European. Their 
language sounds like that of the Fuegians, and the huts and 
weapons are precisely similar to their's. We asked them for 
water, and they pointed to a place about a mile further, mak- 

CnJ Like a roebuck ; supposed to be t?ie ' Huemul ' mentioned by 
Molina.— R. F. 

May 1829. surprise and cunning of natives. 227 

ing signs to us that we must dig in the earth for it. We went 
there, and near a green-looking spot some good water was 
found. We then landed, and enjoyed our breakfast at one 
o'clock, being not a little thirsty. 

" The natives were still with us ; they seemed inquisitive 
and cunning ; and shewed great surprise at a sextant and arti- 
ficial horizon, by which they sat down, attentively watching 
what was done. I put my watch to their ears ; they were much 
astonished, and each came in his turn to hear it tick. I pointed 
to the watch and then to the sky ; they shook their heads and 
suddenly looked so grave, that from their manner in this in- 
stance, and from what I could understand by their signs, I felt 
certain they had an idea of a Superior Being, although they 
have nothing like an image, and did not appear to us to have any 
form of worship. We could learn scarcely any words of their 
language, because of their trick of repeating whatever we said. 

" They saw how we lighted a fire, by means of a tinder-box, 
and took an opportimity to tread it out of sight. Our loss 
was not known until leaving the spot, when that material 
necessary was missed. It was evident they had stolen it ; and 
while I was meditating a reprisal, one of our men by chance 
trod upon the missing box, which was artfully hid under the 
sand. After this discovery, they seemed rather inclined for a 
skirmish, all having clubs, while our men appeared to have no 
weapons. However, we parted without a quarrel. 

" The features of tliese people differed from those of the 
Fuegians whom I had previously seen, in being better formed, 
and having a less artful expression. 

" We pulled hence along a low shore until evening, when 
distant land began to show itself, stretching to the north- 
ward and eastward, and bounding this supposed inland sea. 
At dusk we discovered an opening, which appeared to be 
either a river or a channel, and I steered for its north bank, 
securing the boats for the night in a place we named Donkin 
Cove, as a mark of respect to the preserver of meat, to whom 
we had been so often thankful. A little of this meat, mixed 
with wild fowl, and some wild celery, makes a wholesome and 

(i 2 


agreeable mess. On boat service, meat preserved in tin is parti- 
cularly useful, being already cooked, and therefore fit for 
dimier without the aid of fire. 

" We were surprised at the mildness of the weather. Indeed, 
the change of climate was as pleasant as it was sudden and un- 

" 16th. At daylight, we found ourselves in the entrance 
of what was thought a river. Under this impression, I hoped 
to penetrate into the interior of the country, and meet some new 
tribes of Patagonians. As soon as we could get underweigh, we 
pulled and sailed along a winding channel, on one side of which 
was a pleasant-looking, Avoody country, extending towards 
Tierra del Fuego ; and on the other, a low, barren district, like 
Eastern Patao^onia. The banks on both shores were from five 
to forty feet high, sloping, and covered with grass. 

" The current was in our favour, which with the saltness of 
the water, inclined me to think it a channel, and not the mouth 
of a river. In this opinion I was confirmed in a short time, by 
seeing surf breaking against some land beyond an opening, 
which showed that we were approaching a large body of water. 
Soon after, we reached the extreme west point of this small 
channel ; and, to our surprise, saw an expanse, at least thirty 
miles across from east to west, and twenty from north to south. 
I thought it more at first, but probably was deceived. West 
and south of it I observed high snow-covered mountains ; and 
the summit of one was remarkable, being like a castle with a 
high tower. Northward, the land was low ; excepting a few 
ranges of down-like hills with large plains between them. 

" It happened to be a very clear day, and all that could be 
seen at any time was visible. In two places there seemed to me 
to be openings to the westward ; in the southernmost I could 
see no land at all ; the other was backed by distant mountains, 
but still had the appearance of an opening. After this I went 
to the top of a hill near me, about three hundred feet high, to 
gain a better view, yet so small an elevation made but little 
difference, and I rather thought the opposite coast farther off 
than I had at first supposed. 

May 1829. tide — giiass — whitestonk plain. 229 

" Having sent the cutter back a short distance, to make a 
fire and land our things, I crossed the channel to a fine level 
plain, and measured a base line. In crossing, I found a most 
rapid tide, at least five or six knots at neap tides, and to pull 
against it was out of the question. It caused a considerable 
swell and race at the entrance, which is not a quarter of a mile 
wide, though it averages twelve fathoms in depth. On the 
plain was growing thick grass, like that in the vicinity of the 
river Plata. So rich and good was the grass and trefoil, that I 
saved a few seeds, hoping some day to see their produce in 
England. No tree was seen; the soil seemed dry, rich, and light. 
Skunks, and a small kind of cavy, had burrowed every where, 
which proves the climate to be of a different nature from that 
of the Strait. The bones and traces of guanacoes were nume- 
rous, and some horses' tracks were found ; as also part of a 
dead guanaco, which appeared to have been a prey to wild 
beasts. Water was not so plentiful as to the southward ; but 
quite sufficient for all useful purposes, many small brooks being 
noticed, besides springs in the sides of the low hills. We shot 
a swan (o) and some coots ; the swans were so fat, or so tame, 
that they woidd not rise from the water. 

" 17th. While on Whitestone Plain, a very heavy squall of 
wind and hail passed over from the S.W., so cuttingly cold, 
that it showed me one reason why these plains, swept by every 
wind from S.S.W. to N., are destitute of trees. 

" After dark, we returned to the cutter and partook of a 
large mess, made of the swan we had shot, the coots, some 
limpets, and preserved meat. The shortness of the days was 
bscoming very inconvenient ; from eight to four were the only 
hours of daylight ; but some of the nights were so fine, that I 
got many sets of observations of the moon and stars. 

(o) Black-necked swan, noticed elsewhere by Captain King. — R.F. 


Place for a Settlement — Frost — Boats in dangler — Narrow escape — 
Sudden change — Beagle Hills — Fuegian painting — Tides — Medicine 
— Water warmer than the air — Jerome Channel — Mr. Stokes returns 
to the Beagle— Cape Quod — Snowy Sound — Whale Sound— Choiseul 
Bay — Return to the Beagle — Adelaide returns — Plan of operations — 
Difficulties removed — Preparations — Wear and tear of clothing — 
Ascend the Mountain de la Cruz — Sail from Port Gallant — Tides — 
Borja Bay — Cape Quod — Gulf of Xaultegua — Frost and snow — Meet 
Adelaide — Part — Enter Pacific — Arrive at Chil6e. 

" 18th of May. Very cold, raining heavily, and blowing 
strong from S.W. The tide turned this day (full moon), and 
set to the westward at 1.15. I only say ' turned,' because I 
could not distinguish the ebb from the flood, so little rise and 
fall was there. No sooner had the tide ceased to run in one 
direction, than it began to run as strongly in the other, for 
about six hours. For the last four nights I noticed, that soon 
after sunset the sky was suddenly overcast, a trifling shower 
fell, and afterwards the heavens became beautifully clear. The 
climate must be much like that of the east coast of Patagonia, 
as shrubs grow here like those I saw at Port Desire. While 
walking, the leaves and dry sticks crackled under foot, which 
is very different from what one observes about the Strait of 
Magalhaens, where everything is wet and spungy. I was 
inclined to think this place suitable for a settlement. There is 
water, wood, and good soil, fit for planting, besides pasture 
land ; the climate is not bad ; and probably the Patagonian 
Indians might be induced to trade in guanaco meat, as they 
now do at Gregory Bay ; while any of their hostile incursions 
would be prevented by the channel. 

" 19th. Two natives, a man and a boy, came to our boats 
this morning ; they seemed to have neither curiosity, nor fear, 
nor even a relish for tobacco. They took a piece of tinder, 
jjicked up a stone, and went away to some wigwams, at a little 
distance, where we soon afterwards saw a fire burning. 

IMay 1829. sharp frost — boats in danger. 231 

" During this night and the preceding it froze sharply; but 
the sky was so clear, that I observed many sets of distances, 
on each side the moon. 

" 20th. We went eastward through the little channel. Every 
thing was frozen ; and the boat's sails were useless until thawed. 
We left Donkin Cove directly after noon, and with a fresh and 
fair wind, steered towards Pecket Harbour. I may as well 
mention here my reasons for taking this course, instead of going 
farther westward. 

" Considering our very limited time, and provisions, I 
wished to do first what was most useful ; and to find a new 
passage, seemed to me the primary object. Having surveyed the 
narrow winding channel, and proved its navigability for vessels 
of any class ; I thought it desirable to ascertain next the 
nature of the separation between Otway Water and the Strait 
of Magalhaens, between Laredo Bay and Pecket Harbour. 

" A western passage might be sought by the Adelaide 
schooner, or by myself, at a future time. If we tried to cross 
the Skyring Water, our success would be very doubtful, for 
during the whole time we had been in the channel, the wind 
blew strong from S.W., raising so much sea, that it was with 
great difficulty I could sound outside the western entrance, 
even in a whale-boat. 

" A fine breeze carried us rapidly eastward ; but it freshened 
too fast, reef after reef was taken in, until at two o'clock Ave 
were obliged to lower the sail, and pull to windward ; for as 
far as we could see, the shore continued unbroken, flat, and 
low, with a high surf breaking on it. To have attempted to 
land, would have been folly ; and as the wind continued to 
increase, and a current setting to windward caused a very short 
awkward sea, I sent Mr. Stokes off in the cutter, under his 
small close-reefed sails, to hang to windward as long as he 
could carry sail, while I kept the whale-boat head to wind. 
At three o'clock, we were embayed, and about a mile from the 
shore. My boat was deeply laden, and as our clothes and bags 
got soaked, pulled more heavily. We threw a bag of fuel over- 
board, but kept, everything else to the last. At sunset the sea 


Avas higher, and the wind as strong as ever. I saw the cutter a 
little before, about three miles from us, standing to the east- 
ward on a wind ; but whether she would clear the shore I could 
not make out. 

" After dark, finding we could not well be worse off as to 
risk, I bore up, and pulled with the sea rather abaft the beam, 
twisting the boat ' end on' to each wave as it came, hoping to 
get into smoother water to the westward. Night, and having 
hung on our oars five hours, made me think of beaching the 
boat to save the men ; for in a sea so short and breaking, it 
was not likely she would live much longer. At any time in the 
afternoon, momentary neglect, allowing a wave to take her im- 
properly, would have swamped us; and after dark it was worse. 
Shortly after bearing up, a heavy sea broke over my back, and 
half filled the boat : we were baling away, expecting its suc- 
cessor, and had little thoughts of the boat living, when — quite 
suddenly — the sea fell, and soon after the wind became mode- 
rate. So extraordinary was the change, that the men, by one 
impulse, lay on their oars, and looked about to see what had 
happened. Probably we had passed the place wliere a tide 
was setting against the wind. I immediately put the boat's 
head towai'ds the cove we left in the morning, and with thank- 
ful gladness the men pulled fast ahead. In ten minutes the sea 
was smooth, and the breeze so moderate, as not to impede our 
progress. Our only anxiety was then about the cutter ; for we 
could not tell how she had weathered the gale. I was sure she 
would have prospered if kept by the wind ; but some accident, 
or change of purpose, was to be feared. 

" About an hour after midnight, we landed in safety at 
Donkin Cove ; so tired, and numbed by the cold, for it was 
freezing sharply, that we could hardly get out of the boat. 
The embers of our morning fire were still burning ; so we put 
on some wood, and lay down round them. No men could have 
behaved better than that boat's crew : not a word was uttered 
by one of them ; nor did an oar flag at any time, although 
they acknowledged, after landing, that they never exjDected 
to see the shore again. We resolved to start early to look for 

May 1829. cutter safe — bkagle hills. 233 

the cutter, and fell asleep: but before daylight I was roused bv 
some one, and to my joy, saw Mr. Stokes standing by me. He 
had just arrived with the cutter, having kept his wind till 
the sea fell ; and since that time had been pulling towards this 
spot : with what thankful feelings all hands lay down to sleep 
may be easily supposed. 

" 21st. This morning I believe no one waked before ten 
o*'clock. Drying our clothes, and putting the boats to rights, 
occupied most of the day. Our time was now so short, besides 
having almost expended our provisions, that I gave up the idea 
of crossing the Otway Water, and decided to return nearly the 
way we came, after taking a view from the higher ground. 

" 22d. A sharp frost, during the past night and this day, 
hardened the ground, and with four of my boat's crew, I 
walked to the Beagle Hills. Our way led through a scattered 
wood, the only one seen on the north side of the channel, and 
in which most of the trees appeared to have been burned. We 
gained the summit of the heights soon after noon, and were 
amply rewarded by an extensive view. 

" Although not more than eight hundred feet above the 
sea, I could discern the Gregory Hills (so plainly as to make 
out their yellowish brown colour); Cape Bartholomew, Nassau 
Island ; Cape Monmouth ; the high peaks over Cape Froward ; 
the range of mountains thence to the Jerome Channel, and from 
the Jerome, Avestward to all those about Cape Phillip, and 
Cape Parker ; and the whole extent of the Otway and Skyring 
Waters; the latter being bounded to the N.W. by down-like 
hills, about six or eight hundred feet high. North of the Beagle 
Hills, a range of similar downs extended ; and to the east was 
a succession of lagoons, completely intersecting the flat country 
towards Pecket Harbour. 

" We left a memorial, cut in lead, at the foot of a post sunk 
in the ground ; but the air was so cold, that the men, who 
Avished to add their names, were unable to mark them on the 
lead. It was eight o'clock before we regained our bivouac, 
much fatigued by the day's work. 

*' 23d. I went into a wigwam, where there was a woman 


and two children. A rough likeness made of her did not please 
at all, because it was white : she took out her red paint, and put 
some on her own cheeks, as drawn on the paper, and then was 
quite satisfied, sitting as still as a mouse, while I made another 
sketch. In return for the compliment paid to her countenance, 
she daubed my face, as well as my coxswain's, with the same 
red mixture. 

" 24)th. A sharp frost during the night. We left Donkin 
Cove, as soon as I had taken observations for the chronometers. 
A fine breeze in our favour carried us rapidly along, and at 
dusk we were near Englefield Island. The last few nights have 
been so clear, that two or three of the men, and myself, have 
slept in the open air without any other covering than our 
blanket-bags, and clothes. My cloak has been frozen hard over 
me every morning ; yet I never slept more soundly, nor was in 
better health. 

" We had a good view of Mount Misery this day. It is about 
3,000 feet in height ; twice as high as the surrounding moun- 
tains, and quite bare, even of snow, on the summit. The 
night tides here rise inore than those of the day at this sea- 
son : the times of high water do not differ much on the 
opposite shores. About an hour after dusk we reached Engle- 
field Island, having made a capital run, with a fresh and fair 
Avind. Creeping in the dark, along shore, we at last found 
shelter for the boats, and formed a snug place amongst the 
bushes for our tent and fires. One of my boat's crew was ill 
this day ; the first man that had been seriously so, although 
several had been slightly affected by the muscles and limpets ; 
and one had fits. A draught of hot port wine and WinterV 
bark, certainly seemed to be an efficient medicine for the 
slighter complaints. 

" 25th. Blowing strong from the westward, with much rain. 
I forced a way, with much difficulty, among thick bushes, to 
the top of the island, and when I got there found, to my mor- 
tification, that by no possible contrivance could I see round, 
for I was encompassed by lofty trees of nearly equal height. 

" 26th. We crossed over to the east shore : the temperature of 

May]829. wakmth of water — jeromf, channel. 235 

the water, between Englefield Island and the nearest land, 
one foot beneath the surface, was 42° ; the air at the same time 
being 38°. While the sea Avater preserves this temperature, 
it must tend much to moderate the severity of cold, one would 
naturally expect in this latitude, near so many snow-covered 
mountains. We arrived at the Point of Islets, soon after sunset, 
on the 27th. 

" 28th. Almost every night I observed that the wind sub- 
sided soon after sunset, the clouds passed away, and the first 
part of the night was very fine ; but that, towards morning, 
wind and clouds generally succeeded. From Point of Islets, Ave 
sailed southward ; and were again close to the mountains : 
from whose appearance at this spot, no one would suppose that 
any passage lay between them ; so intricate and winding are 
the channels. 

" I was sorry to leave the open country, behind me ; but time 
pressed ; and there was yet much to do with our loaded boats, 
which could not make very great progress in the short day- 
light afforded by this season. After passing Bennett Island the 
land became rugged, and mountainous on each side, covered, 
however, with wood and vegetation wherever it could grow ; 
and we were again in the Magalhaenic regions. 

" This day I examined as much of the west side of the 
channel, as time would allow, and reached Corona Creek at 
about eight o'clock. What I called the Sugar Loaf must be 
the Corona Island of Cordova's officers ; for at some distance 
it looks somewhat like a crown. It is singular that they 
inserted (in their chart) an island near their Corona, which 
cannot be distinguished from the main-land, until one is 
within two miles of it ; and as at that distance the Otway 
Water is plainly visible, must they not have seen the open- 
ing ? Tired of their job, did they return without prosecuting 
the discovery, or was the weather too thick to see far .'' Their 
description of the Jerome Channel, leads to the supposition of 
a continual current setting tlirough in one direction, instead of 
a regular ebb and flood ; and the surest sign of a passage 
between places in Tierra del Fuego, is a current or stream. 


Many large inlets and sounds look like channels ; but on going 
a short distance into them, you find dead water. 

" 29th. We passed through Jerome Channel, and reached the 
bar, off Baclielor River, after dark; but the cutter got aground, 
and gave us some trouble to float her again. Afterwards one 
of the men was landed on the bar, and by his walking in the 
deepest water, and the whale-boat going next, we got into the 
little river at nine o'clock, not sorry to be in safety. There are 
tide races between the Jerome Channel, and Bachelor River, 
which are sometimes dangerous ; but as the breeze was mode- 
rate, we passed them without difficulty. 

" May 30th. Employed chiefly in stowing the cutter afrebh, 
packing specimens, and preparing my boat to take what 
remained of our provisions. At two next morning, when the 
tide served, Mr. Stokes set out to return to the Beagle : and 
having both wind and tide in his favour arrived early at Port 

" The wind increased after daylight, and blew strong, with 
squalls. I waited a short time, but, having no hopes of its im- 
proving, left the river. My boat was much lumbered, having 
the chronometer-box, and more instruments than before ; yet 
she pulled pretty well, even against the heavy squalls. After 
landing at the west side of the entrance to the Jerome Channel, 
to take bearings and angles, we pulled along shore to the west- 
ward, and at dark hauled the boat up in a small sheltered 
corner. After she was secured, we employed ourselves looking 
for limpets and muscles for supper, by the light of a lanthorn, 
as we had good appetites, and our provisions were scanty. 

" June 1st. We pulled along shore against a strong and 
squally wind, and before evening nearly readied Cape Quod ; 
but not being able to pass it, stopped in a cove on the east side. 

" 2d. At the oars again, early, having a fine clear morning, 
with the tide rather in our favour. By eleven, Cape Quod was 
astern of us ; and a long view of the Strait presented itself 
This part is very rugged and barren, and looks triste, indeed ; 
still wherever a tree can take root it tries to grow. This night 
was passed on a small island at the west point of Snowy Sound. 

June 1829. sxowy sound — bad nights. SST 

" 3d. We began at daylight, and worked, from point to 
point, up the sound, thinking it a channel. Two good ancho- 
rages were found on the west side, but none on the east, except 
a trifline: cove between the little island and the land, which 
would only shelter a small vessel. The night was passed on 
an island five miles within the sound. It rained hard for 
an hour before we landed, and all the night afterwards. Our 
rest was not the most satisfactory, as the ground was wet and 

" Two of the boat's crew got into a hole under a tree 
thinking they should be warm ; but in the middle of the night 
they complained of not being able to get up, and of being half 

" 4th. The rain ceased at times this morning, but the wind 
continued. After going to the top of an island, we pulled and 
sailed onwards, not having a doubt of soon getting into ^Vhale 
Sound. At noon, the passage appeared suspiciously small ; 
yet I could not doubt the fine large opening laid down in our 
old charts, and proceeded until the shore made a sudden turn, 
when, to my astonishment, I saw a high black cliff stopping 
farther progress. After a hearty growl, we turned back, and 
landed to look for a sleeping place. Not a spot could we find 
that was not wet like a sponge ; but night was closing in, and 
obliged us to stay where we were. It was bitterly cold, all of 
us were wet through, the ground was a mere swamp, we could 
not get a fire to burn, and the frost was sharp. 

" After daylight on the 5th, we succeeded in making a 
large fire, and spent two hours drying our clothes and warming 
ourselves. In order to lighten the boat, no one carried more 
clothes, since leaving the cutter, than those he wore, except one 
shirt. We hastened back towards Charles Island, passing some 
very remarkable glaciers, one of which looked like an enormous 
frozen river, covering the whole side of a mountain. Many 
portions were of a transparent blue colour, which, contrasted 
with the snowy whiteness of others, and with the dark shadows 
of bare rocky places, had a very striking effect. At noon, we 
passed out of the sound, and steered for Charles Island, with a 


light breeze in our favour. Seeing a canoe coming across, we 
made towards it, and found a wretched-looking family, consist- 
ing of a man, his wife, and three children, with some small dogs, 
seemingly more miserable than their owners. A few wooden- 
headed spears were all the property they possessed, excepting 
the worn-out skins thrown over their shoulders. The man sold 
me a little dog for a bit of tobacco, and afterwards wanted to 
have him again, because his wife would not consent to the bar- 
gain. However, I kept the dog, and they began to abuse us in 
right earnest, the woman alternately crying and scolding, and 
the man apparently calling on the wind and water to destroy 
us. His gestures were very expressive and animated. I was 
surprised to see so much feeling for a wretched little half-starved 
puppy, and made them happy by returning him, without ask- 
ing for the tobacco. 

" El Morrion (p) (the helmet) was certainly an excellent 
name for the promontory we passed this day. It reminded me 
of the * Castle of Otranto.' 

" We reached a small islet, at the west point of Charles 
Bay, and passed a good night on the top of a bare rock. So 
often had we slept in wet places, that a dry, though stony 
berth, was thought very comfortable. The boat"'s two sails, 
oars, and boat-hook, formed our tent. 

" 6th. We left the islet as soon after day-light as we could 
get breakfast, and take the required bearings and angles ; went 
into Spot Cove, thence crossed to Charles Island, and to the 
narrow opening between it and the nearest land. Ulloa's 
memory can no longer be preserved here in an island, though 
it may in a peninsula. This small channel is narrow, and has a 
strong tide setting through it. There is anchorage all the way, 
though generally over a rocky bottom, and it is navigable for 
small vessels : its average width is a quarter of a mile, and its 
length about three miles. For a boat going westward through 
the Strait, it is far preferable to the regular channel. Two old 
Fuegians were living here, a man and a woman. 

" When in Whale Sound, appearances were such that had I 
(ji) Noticed previously by Captain Stokes, — R. F. 

June 1829. ohoiskui, bay — prince island. 239 

not been to the bottom of Snowy Sound, I should have thouglit 
they joined. After going far enough, to see quite to the end, 
we returned, hauled the boat on a shingle beach, and secured 
her for the time. When a bit of shingle beach could be found, 
it was a prize ; for on it we could always make a good tent, 
and have a dry bed, besides hauling the boat up easily. There 
is a greater rise and fall of tide here, than at the other side of 
Charles Island, being not less than seven or eight feet, at springs. 
During the night, a dog stole a small piece of pork, which 
we had reserved for our last dinner ; and, until his track was 
discovered, there was no little distrust among our party. 

" Whale Sound is a large and deep inlet, ending in a valley 
between mountains. On the south side, a vessel may anchor 
in one place, at the west side of Last Harbour; but there, 
though the hai"bour appears large, the anchorage is small, and 
close to the shore. We pulled and sailed along the south shore, 
landing occasionally to take bearings, until we reached Choi- 
seul Bay, and in a cove, at its west side, we passed the night. 
This is a place no ship need approach : it is a large, deceiving 
bay, full of islets and patches of kelp, under which, probably, 
there are rocks, and between the islets the water is deep and 
unfit for anchorage. The temperature of the sea this day, in 
the middle of the sound, one foot below the surface, was 45°. 

" 8th. As it rained heavily, we remained under such shelter 
as we could obtain ; and prepared for our return to the Beagle, 
by making use of the only razor we had. When the rain ceased, 
we left the cove and sailed across to Port Gallant, with a fresh 
breeze. The smoke of natives'" fires was seen near the entrance 
of the Barbara Channel; and on Prince Island, where we 
stopped a few minutes, the first man seen had on an old pair 
of sailor"'s trowsers, which he had obtained from the Beagle 
tied round his legs in six places. The wigwam these people 
were living in was not half covered: both wind and rain passed 
through it. How they bear the cold is surprising, being with- 
out clothes : one minute sitting close to the fire, and the next 
perhaps up to the waist in water, getting muscles or sea-eggs. 
The women dive for sea-eggs, even in the middle of winter ; 


but the water is never very cold (42° to i4°).(q) In the after- 
noon we saw the Beagle's mast-heads, and soon afterwards 
arrived on board, and enjoyed the happiness of finding aU 
hands well, and every thing ready for farther progress. Lieu- 
tenant Kempe had turned the few hours of light, each day 
afforded, to the best acccount. Those who have had the care of 
ships in remote places, will know my feelings at finding all as it 
should be, after a long absence, in a country little known. Not 
a man had been ill ; and the weather had been very tolerable 
compared with what was expected. There was less snow on 
the mountains than when I left Port Gallant early in May. 
One thing only disappointed me, — the Adelaide had not 
arrived. It was past the time appointed for her, but she might 
have found much more to do than was expected, or might have 
been obliged to return by tlie Magdalen, instead of coming 
through the Barbara Cliannel. 

" During my absence, two sealing vessels had been at Port 
Gallant, on their way through the Strait. From one (an Ame- 
rican), wliich arrived on the 7th of May from Staten Land, 
information was received that the Adventure had noL been 
there. The Chanticleer had remained some time, but had 
sailed for the Cape of Good Hope. The master of the Ame- 
rican had a brother staying with a boat's crew in Staten Land, 
during the whole of April, wlio would probably have seen the 
Adventure, had she called. The other was Mr. Cutler's vessel, 
the Uxor, bound to the United States ; he had been througli 
a channel which leads from the Gulf of Trinidad to Cape 
Tamar, and spoke well of it ; but could give no drawing, nor 
precise information ; having passed through rapidly. 

" Lieutenant Kempe had been at the summit of the Moun- 
tain de la Cruz, and left a memorial. No rare animals had 
been seen, nor any new birds. Small fish were stUl caught with 
hook and line, but very few with the seine. 

" I never was fully aware of the comfort of a bed until this 

(q) At the western entrance of the Strait the water is said to be g-ene- 
rallv a few degrees warmer than at the eastern. — R. F. 

June 1829. Adelaide retctrns — plan. 241 

niglit. Not even a frost-bitten foot could prevent mo from 
sleeping soundly for the first time during many nights. 

" 9th. Atone o'clock this day, I heard an exclamation of 
'The schooner!'' and soon saw her standina: across from the 
Barbara Channel with a fair wind. Before she anchored in Port 
Gallant, I went on board, and, to my joy, found Lieutenants 
Skyring and Graves, and all their companions well, having 
thoroughly completed the work they had to perform, without loss, 
or even an accident. The difficulty of their task was increased by 
very bad weather ; but they succeeded in tracing and surveying 
the Magdalen Channel to its junction with the sea, and thence 
returned by the Barbara Channel to Port Gallant ; carrying 
on a regular chain of triangles, and connecting their work with 
points previously fixed in the Strait of Magalhaens. A multi- 
tude of small islands, and much bad weather, detained them 
longer than was expected. 

" While Lieutenants Skyring and Graves, assisted by ]\Ir. 
Kirke, were employed surveying, Mr. Bynoe collected geolo- 
gical and other specimens.* 

" 11th. We had nearly reached the shortest day; the sun 
did not rise above the hills until past eleven ; it disappeared 
again before two (the land being less high towards the N.W.), 
and even in those three hours was seldom visible. 

" 12th. Finding that Lieutenant Skyring agreed with me 
in thinking that the channel from Cape Tamar to the Gulf of 
Trinidad might be surveyed by the Adelaide, in her way to 
San Carlos de Chiloe, I resolved to send him and Lieutenant 
Graves on that service, hoping that it would lead to the disco- 
very of a passage into the Skyring Water, and give vessels 
another way of getting into or out of the Strait, should thick 
weather or adverse winds oppose them in the usual channel. 

"In making this» arrangement there was much to be con- 
sidered. As I had received no orders from Captain King to 
employ the Adelaide in surveying, after her return from the 
Magdalen Channel ; and as I had been desired to repair, with 
her, to San Carlos, in Chiloe, during which voyage Lieutenant 
* Oeol. Soc. Museum, Nos. ]'JG to -205, and Zool. Mus. 

VOL. 1. R 

242 DIFFICULTIES — PKEPARATioNs. June 1829. 

Skyring was to be on board his own vessel, the Beagle, it 
would be incurring considerable responsibility, to order a new 
piece of service to be undertaken, which might not be successful ; 
and would require officers, men, a boat, provisions, and stores 
from the Beagle. 

" I did not doubt that the measure would be approved by 
Captain King, because he had discussed the feasibility of such 
a plan with me, and had expressed a wish that it should be 
tried; but as I had not received any orders, I could not decide 
without anxiety. 

" Another, though a minor difficulty, arose from sending 
Lieutenant Skyring in command of the Adelaide, over Lieute- 
nant Graves, her proper commander, who had expected to take 
her to Chil()e, and was quite competent to undertake this or 
any other service in which she might be employed. Both these 
officers excelled in their professional duties ; but Skyring had 
been on the western coasts of Patagonia before, and was the 

" Much to the credit of Lieutenant Graves, he removed one 
weight, by volunteering to go any where I thought proper to 
direct, either alone or with Lieutenant Skyring, and the neces- 
sary orders were forthwith given. (See Appendix). Mr. Kirke 
was again to form one of their party, as well as Mr. Bynoe, 
who exchanged temporarily with Mr. Park. The Beagle's 
whale-boat was also lent, with five able seamen to man her ; and 
good care was taken that nothing the ship could give should 
be wanting in their outfit for a service which, at that time of 
year, must be severe and tedious. 

" Anchors and cables, hawsers and kedges, were abun- 
dantly supplied, because in warping into unknown places, or 
anchoring hastily, many an anchor is unavoidably broken or 

" The boat's crew, who had been away with the Adelaide, 
and wex-e going in her again, were supplied with extra clothing 
at the expense of Government, the wear and tear of their clothes 
having been far beyond what they could be expected to make 
good out of their pay. 

June 1829. wear and tear — ascend la cruz. 243 

" As an instance, I may mention, that a careful north coun- 
tryman carried with him, when he left the Beagle, two new 
pair of shoes (besides those on his feet), and three pair of new 
stockings : but brought back only a ragged pair of stockings 
and the remains of one shoe. The others had been fairly worn 
out, or lost, in scrambling over rocks and ascending mountains- 

" One height ascended by Lieutenant Skyring was so steep, 
that the men were obliged to pass the instruments from one to 
another, at a great risk of their own lives ; and when they 
reached the summit, the wind was so strong, that a heavy 
theodolite and stand, firmly placed, was blown over; and even 
a Kater's compass could scarcely be used. 

" With good clothing and provisions, weather may be almost 
defied, and work may be done at the less unfavourable times ; 
but without them, ill-humour and ill-health must inevitably 
appear in such a climate as this. 

" 14th, Sunday. I had the satisfaction of keeping this day in 
a proper manner, for the first time since we entered the Strait. 
So much had depended upon employing every minute of our 
time while the weather would allow, that there had been little 
distinction of days. 

" 17th. The morning being fine, with not much wind, though 
a sharp frost, I left the ship with Mr. Murray and four men, 
and landed in Fortescue Bay, intending to ascend the moun- 
tain ' De la Cruz,' if the snow and ice did not prevent me. 

" On the beach, close to the water, I suspended the moun- 
tain barometer, and let it remain half an hour before we began 
the ascent, whicli, from the snow lying so deep, was trouble- 
some; for at one step a hard rock received one's foot, and 
at the next, perhaps, a deep hole amongst broken trees. Some- 
times we tumbled head foremost into soft snow, slightly cover- 
ing rotten mossy boughs and swampy ground ; and at others, 
slipped between the concealed trunks of trees, which, though 
much decayed, were hard enough to cause many a bruise. 
Each movement of our arms or legs shook down a shower of 
snow from the trees, among which we were forcing our way. 

" At noon we gained the part that is clear of wood, but 


24l MOUNTAIN DE LA CRUZ. June 1829- 

so very steep and slippery was the summit, that we were obliged 
to go on our hands and knees, forcing them as deeply into the 
snow as possible, to avoid sliding down again. The highest 
point is not visible from Port Gallant. 

" While I took angles with the theodolite, the seamen made 
a fire. It was well we carried some fuel and a tinder-box, witli 
a sheet of copper, upon which to kindle it ; for withovit a fire 
we should have been quite numbed. Standing in one place 
for two hours, after being much warmed by exertion, made 
lis more sensible of the cold. The highest spot is but a few 
yards wide, and by barometrical measurement is 2,280 feet 
above the sea.* The height is, in truth, small ; but as the 
mountain is so steep, and rises so abruptly from the sea, it 
appears considerable. 

" When we had finished our observations with the barometer 
and theodolite, we deposited a Memorial, containing a list of 
the officers and crews of the Beagle and Adelaide — an account 
of the object of their voyage, how far it had succeeded, and 
where we were going — and a collection of coins, well-soldered 
up in a tin case — upon the bare rock ; and made a great pile of 
stones over it. 

" Having again examined the barometer, we began to 
descend ; for the sun disappearing behind the distant moun- 
tains, warned us that it was time to return. We had enjoyed 
a magnificent view on all sides, and were reluctant to leave our 
station. In descending, we made raj)id progress at first, sliding 
many yards together down the soft snow ; but, by the time 
we reached the woody part, it was getting dark, and having 
foolishly tried to return by a straight line, instead of going- 
round, we found steep cliffs, and ravines covered with rotten 
trees, which perplexed us exceedingly. Darkness, and the 
deep snow, much increased our dilemma ; yet we could not 
resist laughing heartily at the ludicrous sci-apes some of the 
party got into : one man was rather a-head, looking for a way 
to descend a steep place, when the snow slipped from under 
him, and down he went, about eighty feet, partly sliding, 
* Bv angular measurement it was found to be 2,270 feet. 

June 1829- sail from pout gallaxt. 245 

partly falling, but quite against his consent. What he did by 
accident, we were obliged to do, because there was no alter- 
native ; so away we slid, one after another, like so many sledges 
upon Russian ice-hills, holding the instruments as we could, 
by one hand, while the other was employed to check or steady 
VIS. With a little more of this sort of work, and some strug- 
fflino: throuiih the wood at the bottom, we reached the shore, 
where a boat was waiting for us, and at about eight arrived on 
board, in a half- wet, half-frozen condition.* 

" 19th. Every thing was brought on board, the ship un- 
moored, and all made ready for our departure next morning. 

" 20th. Sailed from Port Gallant, leaving the Adelaide to 
rate her chronometers, and rejoin us before leaving the Strait. 
In the evening we anchored in Elizabeth Bay, after a severe 
day's struggle against a strong and contrary wind, with much 

" 21st. Blowing hard again this morning from the N.W., 
with a great deal of rain. Weig-hed and made sail under reefed 
courses and treble reefed topsails, but the wind and tide were 
more than a match for us, so we stood across into Whale 
Sound, and worked up under the lee of Carlos Island, finding 
the tide there rather in our favour. The ' williwaws'' (I know 
no better name for the sudden gusts that come off the high 
land) gave us some trouble, occasionally laying us almost on 
our beam ends. At half past two I was induced to anchor 
under the lee of the south-east extremity of Carlos Island, 
and thought our day's work was repaid by a snug position close 
to a weather-shore, besides having made some little progress ; 
but after dark the wind became more violent, and a williwaw 
drove us out into deep water. We set the storm sails, which, 
with the weather-tide, known to be then making strongly, I 
hoped would take her a-head sufficiently to clear Rupert Island 
(lying under our lee), and all hands then went to the capstan ; 
but while heaving-in the cable, our bower anchor again caught 
the ground and brought us up. We veered away cable 

* The wristbands of our shirts, and all our outer clothes, were coated 
with ice, while our inner clothing was wet througli. 


directly, let go another anchor, and rode out the rest of the 
gale, which was extremely violent, without driving. 

" The instant our anchor caught, I knew we must be on a 
ridge, of which Lieut. Skyring had spoken to me, lying be- 
tween Rupert and Carlos Islands, across which the tide makes 
strongly, at the rate of about three knots. Rupert Island was 
still under our lee, distant less than half a mile. 

" 22d. Blowing hard and raining. At 9 a.m. it cleared and 
moderated, but so strong a tide set past us, to the south, that 
we could not attempt to weigh. It differs here from that in 
mid-channel by two hours, which may much assist a vessel if 
she manages so as to take eight hours tide in her favour, 

" At eleven we unmoored, and got ready for moving at 
the turn of tide.* At one we weighed and made sail with a 
moderate wind from N.W., and by keeping close to Carlos 
Island, and making short boards, we had a weather-tide, while 
in the fairway of the Strait the stream was running to the S.E. 
We anchored in Bachelor's Bay (or York Roads), choosing 
an outside berth in order to have more room to weigh again 
and work with the morning tide. It blew hard in the night, but 
we rode securely, although the tide ran at least three knots 
where we were. 

" 23d. We started and worked to the westward, and at 
nine were abreast of Borja Bay; but by trying for too much, 
nearly lost all that we had gained, for in standing across from 
the bay, hoping to weather Cape Quod, the flood tide took us 
so strongly, that it cost three hours close working to get to an 
anchor even in Borja Bay. We had rain and sleet continually 
through the day, and it blew hard at night, but as plenty of 
chain was out, the topsails and courses were close reefed, and 
the top-gallant masts on deck, we were ready for anything. 

" 24th. Heavy squalls, with almost constant rain, prevented 
our moving westward, and similar weather continued through- 
out the day, becoming worse at night. Had we had plenty of 
provisions I should not have minded this delay, because we 
might have remained at anchor till it was over ; but so much 
• On heaving up the best bovver, we found it had lost one iluke. 

June 1829. cape quod— gulf of xaultegua. 247 

had been said about the difficulty sometimes found in working 
through the Strait, that it concerned us greatly not to lose a 
chance of making progress. During this night the squalls were 
very heavy. The holding ground must have been excellent, for 
williwaws drove the ship from one side to the other as if she 
had been a chip upon the water. 

" 26th. Weighed this morning, weathered Cape Quod, and 
worked to the westward, the weather having cleared and become 
very fine. The part where most tide is felt was then past. 
Cape Quod projects so far south that the Strait is there ex- 
tremely narrow, and though very deep, has a strong tide. 

" 27th. At daylight we found ourselves to windward of 
Marian's Cove. Looking eastward upon the land about Cape 
Quod, it has a very bleak and rugged appearance. The almost 
perennial west winds prevent vegetation from growing on the 
heights exposed to their action. Hence the desolate look of the 
western shores of TieiTa del Fuego. We saw a sail beyond 
Cape Notch, and, just before we moored, close to the shore in 
Half-port Cove, we made her out to be the Adelaide. 

" 28th A bad morning, snowy and blowing, but the wind 
being moderate between the squalls, I went in a whale boat to 
examine the Gulf of Xaultegua, and pulled along the south 
shore towards Cape Monday. Having gained some distance to 
windward, while the snow was so thick it was impossible to 
see the shore, we made sail across the Strait, and hit the place 
within a cable's length. When the snow ceased falling, we saw 
a large space of water before us, the land opposite being at 
least five mUes distant. We sailed towards a strange looking 
islet in the middle of the gulf, very similar to the old moul- 
dering figures of the fabled Sphinx, but the snow becoming 
again almost incessant, only allowing us to see our way at 
intervals, while the wind was too strong for even a close reefed 
sail, we landed, and hauled the boat up on an island. I was in 
hopes of finding an opening which would lead me to the Sky- 
ring Water; and my boat's crew, being almost as eager as I 
was, cared little for the wind or snow. This night we made a 
larger tent than usual, with a top-gallant studding sail, and 


the consequence was, we were extremely cold, as there was a 
sharp frost, and the snow was lying every where very deep. 
Next nisht we were wiser, and reduced our tent to the smallest 

" 29th. Early in the morning we resumed our search. I had a 
chronometer with me, but as we never saw the sun, nor even a 
star, I should have been as well without it. We pulled and 
sailed towards the northernmost corner first, but found no 
opening, and went thence to the eastward, with a strong and 
favourable breeze. Passing Still-hope Point I felt sure of 
finding a passage, for before me were the tops of mountains 
seen from the Otway Water. I was, however, deceived, the 
gulf ended in two bights, or inlets, unconnected with other 
waters : so we returned to Still-hope Point and hauled up the 
boat. The night passed very well, in a snug place among 
trees, although the snow was falling thickly. Early next morn- 
ing we left the shore, having employed a quarter of an hour in 
clearing the snow out of our boat. When we started, it snowed 
fast but without wind, and we steered by compass for the Sphinx. 
I sketched what I could see of the south side of this gulf, but 
did not consider it worth delaying longer, in such weather, for 
so unimportant a place, while anxious that the Beagle should 
reach Childe before her provisions were expended, and that I 
should fall in with the Adelaide before leaving the Strait. 
If ever a minute survey is made of this gulf, it should be 
after all others have been examined, as it is utterly useless. 
The temperature of the water within it we found to be 40° 
Fahr. We landed on St. Anne's Island, having run near thirty 
miles since the morning, and thence we sailed across the Strait, 
reached His Majesty's little vessel, and found that the Adelaide 
had not yet passed by. All looked cold and wintry, every thing- 
being covered with snow ; and our sails were hard frozen, for 
the first time. 

"July 1st. After beating loose the sails, we stood out in the ship 
to meet the Adelaide, which was seen coming towards us. I went 
on board, and found every one well. They too, in attempting 
to anchor olF Carlos Island, had, like ourselves, been driven 


out : we compared chronometers, and supplied her with a few 
things not thought of before (keeping under all sail meanwhile 
to profit by an easterly wind); and the Beagle's officers lent the 
Adelaide their own stove. 

" In the afternoon, we parted company ; the Adelaide stood 
towards Upright Bay, and anchored at dusk, while we steered 
out of the Strait, with a freshening breeze from the east, which 
increased much as we made westing. At midnight, we were in 
the Pacific, and all our anxiety about weeks of beating to wind- 
ward upon short allowance of provisions, vanished as quickly 
as the land astern. The glass falling, with the wind in the S.E. 
quarter, foretold unusually bad weather; we therefore shortened 
sail by degrees, making all secure. 

" 2d. At six o'clock in the morning, it was blowing a gale 
of wind, with so much sea, that it was necessary to steer right 
before it, — or heave-to, — Avhich with a fair wind was not pre- 
ferable ; and we found the vessel scud extremely well, under 
close reefed fore and main topsails, and double reefed foresail. 
Our quarter boats caused anxiety, for the davits were low, and 
at every lurch the boats were risked. Frequently they dipped 
in the sea, and sometimes were half filled ; but they hung fast 
till by a moment's neglect of the steerage, a sea broke over 
the whale-boat, and carried her away. The other, being much 
smaller and stronger, held on well, though frequently under 
water. Towards midnight the gale broke; by the next morning 
the weather was more moderate ; and from that time it conti- 
nued fine, vmtil our arrival at Chiloe. 

" On the 5th, at daylight, we saw land at a great distance, 
which afterwards proved to be the Island of Guafo, and in the 
afternoon the south end of Chiloe was seen. 

" On the 8th, we were working towards the Port of San 
Carlos, being off Point Huapilacuy, and next day (9th) 
anchored in the port of San Carlos, which seemed to be well 
sheltered by a country, the appearance of which was very agree- 
able when contrasted with that of Tierra del Fuego, 

" The town reminded me of a Cornish village. I thought, 
from their appearance and colour, that the houses were built 


of stone, and roofed with slate ; but afterwards found they were 
of wood, from their foundations, to the tops of their roofs. 
Except a few cleared spaces, the island is entirely covered with 
trees, even on the highest hills. The Captain of the Port 
(an Englishman) boarded us as we neared the anchorage, and 
was very obliging in his offers. From him I learnt that the 
Adventure had not yet arrived, nor even been heard of on the 
coast. We anchored under the lee of Barcacura Heights, in a 
good berth, and moored ship. I went on shore immediately, and 
paid my respects to the Governor, Don Jose Santiago Aldunate, 
a brigadier-general in the Chilian Service, whose kind manner, 
and friendly offers of every assistance he could render us, were 
very gratifying. From the master of a merchant ship, lately 
arrived, I was surprised and concerned to learn, that the Adven- 
ture had not reached Valparaiso before the time of his sailing 
thence (20th of June).* 

" Refitting the Beagle, repairing and building boats, occu- 
pied most of the officers, and all the crew, wliile Mr. Stokes and 
I were engaged in the work of the survey, during our stay in 
the Port of San Carlos. Our ship required caulking, which, 
in so rainy a climate, was difficult to accomplish. So continually 
wet was the weather, that had we not dried our sails, and un- 
bent them, during three fine days which we had(r) on our 
arrival, they would not have been dry during our stay." 

• The Adventure arrived on the 21st. — P. P. K. 

Ci'J Por milagro (miraculously) ; as the inhabitants told me. — R. F. 


Extracts from the Journals of Lieutenants Skyring and Graves — Mag- 
dalen Channel — Keats Sound — Mount Sarmiento — Barrow Head 
— Cockburn Channel — Prevalence of south-west winds — Melville 
Sound — Ascent of Mount Skyring — Memorial — Cockburn and 
Barbara Channels — Mass of Islets and Rocks — Hewett Bay — 
Cypress trees useful — Adelaide rejoins Beagle in Port Gallant — Captain 
King's narrative resumed — Plan of future proceedings — Adelaide 
arrives at Chil6e— Abstract of Lieutenant Skyring's account of her 
proceedings — Smyth Channel — Mount Burney — ' Ancon sin Salida' — ■ 
Natives — Kirke Narrows — Guia Narrows — Peculiar tides — Indians in 
plank canoes — Passage to Chil6e. 

The extracts from Captain Fitz Roy's first journal being 
ended, I shall now give some passages from the journals of 
Lieutenants Skyring and Graves, while employed in the Ade- 
laide, exploring and surveying the Magdalen and Barbara 

The reader will remember, that the Adelaide parted company 
with the Beagle, at the entrance of the Magdalen Channel, on 
the 19th of April ; and steered to the southward under the 
direction of Lieutenant Skyring. 

Lieutenant Graves says : — ' 

" The east and west shores of the Magdalen Channel run 
nearly parallel to each other : but the east side is broken by 
a large opening, named Keats Sound, which runs into the land 
for eight miles, and appears very like a channel, fs J 

" At the S.W. angle of the Magdalen Channel stands Mount 
Sarmiento : the most conspicuous, and the most splendid object 
in these regions. Rising abruptly from the sea, to a height of 
about 7,000 feet, it terminates in two sharp peaks, which seem 
absolutely in the sky : so lofty does the mountain appear, when 
you are close to its base. 

fsj I do not think that there is any opening at the bottom of Keats 
Sound ; which lies at the base of a chain of snow-covered mountains, whose 
southern side I have closely traced. — R, F. 


■ " Two thirds of the height are covered with snow ; and two 
enormous glaciers descend into the deep blvie waters of the 
sea beneath. When the sun shines, it is a most brilliant and 
magnificent sight. 

" Many days were almost lost to us, in consequence of heavy 
gales, accompanied by torrents of rain ; but we profited by 
intervals of fine weather to move from cove to cove. 

" On the 5th of May, while working out of Stormy Bay, 
we grounded, and remained fixed upon a rock several hours, 
but were lifted off again by the next tide, without having sus- 
tained material injury. 

" To vessels navigating this channel, I should strongly re- 
commend giving a preference to the south shore, where there 
are many openings, and I have no doubt good anchorages, 
which, as our time was limited, and the weather very tempes- 
tuous, we had not an opportunity of examining. If any such 
exist they would have a decided advantage over those on the 
north shore, from being generally to windward, and therefore 
easy to leave, as well as more secure. King and Fitz Roy 
Islands, lying in mid-channel, between Stormy and Park Bays, 
are of bold approach, as are also the Kirke Rocks, which lie 
further to the S.W. 

" One morning, being anxious to obtain a more secure 
situation for the vessel, we started in search of a better berth, 
intending, if possible, to reach a bay on the other shore, near 
Barrow Head, apparently affording good anchorage ; but after 
beating about, from nine until four oVlock, without being 
able to reach it, the breeze freshening, and sea increasing, we 
bore up, and again anchored under the lee of the same island. 
S.W. winds prevail in these parts throughout the year : in 
confirmation of which, besides the experience we ourselves have 
had, all the trees which stand exposed, are bent in an opposite 
direction ; and on the S.W. side of all the land open to that 
point, not only does the vegetation commence much further 
from the water's edge, but it is scarcer, and more stunted. In 
sheltered places the trees grow to within a foot of high- water 

May 1829. melville sodnd — mount skyring. 253 

"May 11th. We remained at the above-mentioned anchorage ; 
and while Lieutenant Skyring was examining a cluster of islands 
in the vicinity, I obtained observations for the latitude and 
longitude ; and as it was the first fine day, indeed the only 
one since entering this channel in which we had a fair propor- 
tion of sunshine, it was taken advantage of to dry and air all 
our clothes and bedding, and clean ovxt the vessel thoroughly. 

" The next anchorage we took, was in a cove just large 
enough to hold the schooner, at the entrance of Dyneley Sound, 
on the north shore. In crossing over, we had a fine view of 
Mount Sarmiento ; and looking to seaward, from the hill over 
this cove, the Tussac, and the Fury Rocks, at the entrance of 
Melville Sound, which are much resorted to by sealers, were 
clearly distinguishable. 

"^ During our stay here, until May 15th, the neighbouring- 
coast was examined, whenever the weather permitted. We 
also communicated with several canoes full of Indians, but 
gained no additional information respecting the habits of the 

" The next start carried us through the islands of Melville 
Sound, to an anchorage in a small cove, at the N.E. end of the 
largest of the Magill Islands, upon which is Mount Skyring. 
Having resolved to ascend to the top, as it offered so com- 
manding a view, and was so centrally situated, we remained 
for that purpose."" The weather, for several days, was very un- 
favourable, and it was not until the 21st, that there was any 
reasonable prospect of obtaining a view from the summit ; when 
Lieutenant Skyring and Mr. Kirke had a most laborious ex- 
cursion, and the latter was nearly frost-bitten in ascending the 
mountain ; but they were fully recompensed for the trouble 
and difficulty they had experienced. 

Lieutenant Skyring says : — 

" We gained the summit after three hour''s hard travelling. 
During the last five hundred feet of ascent, the mountain was 
almost precipitous, and we had the utmost difficulty in passing 
the instruments from hand to hand. Its formation is remark- 
able, although, I believe, the same structure exists throughout 
the hills around. The base is a coarse granite, but this solid 

254 MEMOBiAi. — cocKBURN CHANNET,. May 1829- 

formation cannot be traced half the height ; above is an im- 
mense heap of masses of rock, irregularly and wonderfully 
thrown together, many huge fragments overhanging, with 
apparently very little hold. This station was the most com- 
manding we had chosen during the survey, and answered well 
for the object we desired ; which being attained, we returned 
on board, and I rejoiced when all were safe, for it was neither 
an easy, nor a pleasant enterprise."" 

A document, of which the following is a copy, was enclosed 
in a bottle and a strong outer case, and left at the summit of 
the mountain. 
This Memorial was left by the officers of H.M. Schooner 
Adelaide, while employed on a survey of the Magdalen, 
Cockburn, and Barbara Channels ; and any person finding it 
is requested to leave the original document, and build the 
pile, under which it is placed, at least six feet higher. 
Signed this 16th day of May 1829, by 

W. G. Skyring, Lieut, and assist, surveyor of H.M.S. Beagle. 
Thomas Graves, Lieut, of H.M. Schooner Adelaide. 
James Kirke, Midshipman H.M.S. Beagle. 
Alex. Millar, Master assist. H.M.S. Adelaide. 
Benj. Bynoe, Assist, surgeon H.M.S. Beagle. 
Jno. Park, Assist, surgeon H.M.S. Adventure. 
God save the King. 
" In the Cockburn Channel,* the flood-tide sets to seaward ; 

* In the old Dutch charts, a passage was laid down near the place, 
and nearly in the direction of the Cockburn Channel, and named ' Jelou- 
zelt :' but until some written authority can be produced to prove that this 
passage was explored, or, at the least, discovered by the person who gave 
the name of ' Jelouzelt' to one of the almost innumerable openings in 
Tierra del Fuego, it does not appear that the inlet so called has any 
claim to our consideration, greater than that of the non-existing San 
Sebastian Channel, — or a number of other imaginary passages which 
must have been laid down, upon supposition only, in many old charts. 

The first person known to have passed through the Cockburn Channel 
was the mate of the Prince of Saxe Cobourg, who went in a boat (see 
page 66). It was afterwards passed by Mr. William Low, master of the 
Mercury, and has since been used by several vessels. 

May 1829. cockburn and baubara channels. 255 

but it was not found to be of consequence to a vessel in working 
through. The rise and fall is not more than six, or at most, 
eight feet, at spring-tides. 

" May 22d. We quitted this anchorage; and having worked 
to the westward, through the Adelaide Passage, took up a berth 
in a small bay, two miles and a half to the northward, where 
we remained during the night, and next morning ; then, after 
examining the neighbouring coast sufficiently to carry on our 
triangulation, proceeded to an anchorage on the north side of 
Bynoe Island. From the summit of this place an extensive 
view was obtained of the islands in Melville Sound, as well as 
of the entrance to the Cockburn and Barbara Channels. Such 
a complicated mass of islands and rocks, I never before saw; to 
lay them all down correctly would occupy a long time. Suffi- 
cient, however, has been done to take the navigator through 
this labyrinth ; but I am well aware, that very much is still 
wanting to complete the survey. 

" Fury and North Harbours, of which the former became 
more particularly known to us from the Prince of Saxe Cobourg 
having been wrecked there in December 1826, were laid down 
from an eye-sketch only ; but the peaks of the island, and its 
extremes, were fixed by triangulation.* 

" MelviUe Sound is formed by the islands which separate 
the Cockburn from the Barbara Channels. Generally speaking, 
they, as well as the coasts in the immediate neighbourhood 
which are exposed to seaward, present a most barren and deso- 
late appearance. 

" Until the 26th of May, we were much occupied among 
the surrounding islands ; but time being short, we took advan- 
tage of a southerly Avind to run up the Barbara Channel, and 
soon reached an anchorage in Hewett Bay. While securing the 
vessel, a canoe, containing only a man, woman, and child, and 
three dogs, was seen coming round the south point of the bay. 
As they seemed very unwilling to pay us a visit, remaining at a 
distance, and vociferating as usual, ' Ho-say,' ' Ho-say V Mr. 
Bynoe and I communicated with them in the dinghy ; but 
• Since surveyed b)- Capt. Fitz Roy in the Beagle, 1829-30. 


finding they had not an article worth bartering for, we soon 
left them, and returned on board. It was suspected their com- 
panions were not far off, and indeed, the day after, Lieutenant 
Skyring saw several canoes ; but the moment he was discovered, 
they were beached, and the men, taking to the woods, kept at a 

" On the 29th, we left Hewett Bay, and, after threading the 
needle throuo-h a multitude of islands, islets, and gmall rocks, 
for more than three nriiles, reached an ancliorage in a small cove, 
at the north entrance of Brown Bay, where we were detained, 
and confined to the vessel, by heavy gales, and stormy weather, 
until June 2d ; when, having a fine day, we reached a spot 
(marked in the chart as North anchorage) sufficiently secure 
for a small vessel ; but not to be recommended to any other. 

" Between Hewett Bay, and the above anchorage, there are 
several rocks, among patclies of kelp, which, as they only show 
then selves at half ebb, or near low water, render the navigation 
rather intricate. A good maxim in these channels is, ' Avoid 
kelp, and you avoid danger.'' Forty-three days had passed 
since we left Port Famine ; and in this interval, I find we had 
nine favourable days, twelve partially favourable, some hours 
of which we could employ in the work about which we were 
engaged, and the remaining twenty-three were days of rain and 
wind, far too unfavourable to serve our purpose in the least. 

" June 4th. While turning to windward, we, for the first 
time, felt the influence of the tide, which, from the channel's 
narrowing, begins to be sensible : here it was sufficiently strong 
to prevent our gaining ground in beating to windward, although 
with a good working breeze ; we therefore ran into a bay on 
the west side, and anchored. The country around had rather 
a pleasing appearance, the shores being partially covered with 
the evergreen, and deciduous-leaved beech, and a few stunted 
cypress-trees. These last are serviceable for boat-hook spars, 
or boats' masts ; and, when seasoned, work up very smoothly, 
and wear well : the beech-trees do not equal those found fur- 
ther northward in the Strait, except here and there in sheltered 

June 1829. Adelaide rejoins the beagle. 257 

" With a leading wind, the next morning, we reached the 
south narrows of the Barbara Channel, through which we were 
carried by a strong tide, and anchored in Bedford Bay. 

" Here, as well as throughout the Barbara channel, the 
flood tide sets to the southward. We obtained at this place 
angles which connected our triangulation with points fixed by 
Captain King during the previous year, and finished our exa- 
mination of these channels within a very few days of the time 

" On the 8th of June we attempted to pass through the 
Shag Narrows, but not saving the tide, were obliged to anchor 
for the night in Field Bay, which is small and much exposed 
to southerly winds; the bank also is very abrupt, and the water 
is deep close to the shore. 

" On the 9th we succeeded in clearing the Narrows, and 
reached Port Gallant early in the afternoon, where we rejoined 
the Beagle." 

Having given these brief extracts from Journals kept on 
board the Beagle and Adelaide, during the time occupied by 
the Adventure about Cape Horn, or on her way to Childe, I 
will resume my own narrative. 

As it was my intention to remain at this port * until the 
Beagle and Adelaide were equipped, the Adventure was made 
snug, and, by way of relaxation, such of the officers as could 
be spared from the duties of the ship, resided in turns at the 
town, where also the ship's company had frequently permission 
to amuse, themselves. 

The Hoxsley schooner arrived from Valparaiso and brought 
me letters from the Admiralty, acquiescing in my request to 
return to England direct, instead of proceeding by way of New 
South Wales and the Cape of Good Hope, as was originally 
intended. I therefore determined to return to Valparaiso as 
soon as our consorts had taken their departure, proceed thence 
to Port Famine, where we were to be joined by the Adelaide, 
and afterwards repair to Rio de Janeiro to await the Beagle's 
arrival, when we should sail for England. 
» San Carlos, in Chiloe. 
VOL. I. S 


On the 20th of September my anxiety for the Adelaide was 
relieved by her appearance, and by finding all on board her in 
good health. She had gone up the coast by the channels that 
communicate with the Strait of Magalhaens at Beaufort Bay, 
passing inside of Hanover Island and Madre de Dios ; and 
Lieut. Skyring gave me a very interesting account of their 
discoveries, of which the following is an abstract. 

It will be remembered that the Beagle left the Adelaide 
at anchor under Cape Upright. While there the wind fresh- 
ened up from the eastward, and threw a swell into the bay, 
which rendered the anchorage very unsafe, as the schooner's 
stern was in the foam of the sea that broke on the rocky shore 
close to her. Much anxiety was felt for their safety, but the 
anchors held well. As soon as the weather permitted they 
sailed, entered Beaufort Bay, and steered towards a deep open, 
ing to the eastward of Cape Phillip, into which they ran with 
a steady S.E. wind, and found an anchorage on the west side 
in Deep Harbour. 

On the 5th of July Lieut. Skyring and Mr. Kirke were 
absent in a whaleboat, exploring a deep opening eastward of 
Cape Tamar, which they found to terminate in two sounds, 
named by them Icy Sound and Glacier Bay ; the first from 
its being covered with a sheet of ice, and the latter from its 
being full of large masses which had been detached from an 
extensive glacier occupying the bottom of the bay. The exa- 
mination of this opening was made in search of a channel, 
through which, vessels had entered the Strait, and the schooner 
was to proceed to her rendezvous. The result proved that the 
Adelaide was already in the channel they were looking for, 
therefore they returned on board, and proceeded (7th) to the 
northward. In passing Mount Joy a strong tide was observed, 
the certain indication of a channel ; for, as has been before 
remarked, within sounds the tide has no perceptible stream. 
To gain a better knowledge of their way they anchored early 
in Good's Bay ; the course of the channel, from the inter- 
section of points, and intervention of islands, being by no 
means distinct. Lieut. Graves made a plan of the bay, while 

July 1829. Adelaide's proceedings. 259 

Lieut. Skyring, and his assistant,* completed the survey of the 
entrance to the passage, which was named Smyth Channel, as a 
compliment to Capt. W. H. Smyth, R. N., under whom, while 
surveying the Mediterranean, both Lieuts. Skyring and Graves 
had served. 

The best channel they found to the eastward of Renouard 
Island, and the Adelaide took that course, but stopped a night 
in a small cove on the eastern side of the isljmd, and in passing- 
Shoal Island next day struck on a rock ; she was got off how- 
ever withovit injury, and anchored afterwards, for a night, on 
the north side of the Island of the Narrows. 

The two following days (10th and 11th) were spent in 
examining the coast, and exploring Clapperton Inlet, which 
had the appearance of being a channel. From the hills at the 
bottom Lieut. Skvrina; noticed a considerable tract of low land 
and open plain, extending to the northward. On the 12th, 
being Sunday, they remained quiet, and on the 13th the wea- 
ther was so calm that they only reached Hose Harbour, on the 
east side ; and the next day Oake Bay. Thence crossing the 
channel in a whaleboat they explored some distance along that 
shore; and on the 15th anchored in Otter Bay, This slow 
progress was unavoidable, owing to the calm state of the wea- 
ther, and to the survey being principally, if not entirely, carried 
on in boats. 

On the 16th the schooner was towed onwards, and passing 
over an extensive shoal flat of three fathoms, reached the Sum- 
mer Islands, where she might have stopped, but, as the tide 
was still favourable, she proceeded to an anchorage under 
Long Island, the most northern in the Elson group. 

The eastern shore of the channel was there very different in 
character from what they had so long been accustomed to, 
being nearly level ; and, extending for some distance off every 
low point, there was shoal water. 

For some days a lofty mountain, covered with snow, had 
been in sight ; which, by angular measurement, proved to 

* Mr. Xirke. 
s 2 

260 BURNEY — SMYTH CHANNEL. July 1829. 

be 5,800 feet in height. It was named Mount Burney, in 
compUment to the admiral. 

On the 17th the Adelaide reached Fortune Bay, situated at 
the east extreme of a headland, on each side of which is a chan- 
nel, leading, apparently, towards Cape Isabel. The northern 
seemed to be the principal one, and therefore was followed next 
day (18th) as far as Welcome Bay. 

Continuing the survey onwards they reached Victory Pas- 
sage, which they entered, thinking the}! were in the mouth of 
the ' Ancon sin Salida,'' as laid down from Sarmiento's journal 
by Admiral Burney. The weather, however, became so bad, 
that they were obliged to take shelter in Island Bay, and the 
next day the wind setting in from the eastward, they gave 
up, for a time, their search for the ' Ancon sin salida,' and 
proceeded by Smyth Channel, as far as Hamper Bay, where 
they were again detained by bad weather. Here a few rock fish 
were caught, but at no other time during this cruise were the 
fishermen successful, although the channel was so filled by 
porpoises and seals, that it is probably well stocked with fish at 
the proper season : and there are many places where the seine 
might be shot. Proceeding slowly on the 25th, the Adelaide 
struck on a rock, and remained fast for a few hours, but as 
the tide rose she swung off without damage. Upon examining 
Rocky Bay they found it a complete bed of rocks; yet, bad as it 
was, the Adelaide was obliged to remain there five days, owing 
to the tempestuous state of the weather. On the 30th they 
reached the north end of Smyth Channel, and anchored in 
Narrow Creek. 

On the 31st Lieut. Skyring went to a remarkable hill, 
which he called Mount Trafalgai-, but thought it might have 
been the ' Monte Trigo'* of Sarmiento, so much did its appear- 
ance remind him of a corn stack. The day was most favour- 
able : a round of angles, and an extensive view down Lord 
Nelson's Strait, were obtained from the summit. They remained 
on an island all night, sheltered by the boat, and next morning 
went to two points, called by Sarmiento ' Oueste,' and ' Mas 
• A heap, or stack of corn. 

Aug. 1829. ANCON SIN SALIDA. 261 

al Oueste,' (west and more west,) returning to the Adelaide in 
the evening. 

The following morning was fine, and the Adelaide moved 
out of Smyth Channel, the survey of which was completed very 
satisfactorily, although their progress was slow, owing to con- 
stant northerly winds. 

By towing the Adelaide during tedious calms, they reached 
Montague Bay in the evening, and next day anchored in 
Relief Harbour, on the S. W. side of Vancouver Island. 

As it was evident that the ' Ancon sin salida ■■ was within 
Piazzi and Ceres Islands, up the west coasts of which they had 
passed, Lieut. Skyring left the schooner moored in Relief 
Harbour, and proceeded, on the 4th August, to the southward, 
in a whale-boat with Mr. Kirke ; but he took no more than a 
week's provisions, that time being all he could devote to this 

The 4th, 5th, and 6th, Lieutenant Skyring employed in 
pulling or sailing to the southward and eastward, through 
winding and intricate passages ; although strong winds and 
much heavy rain annoyed him, and impeded his progress. 

On the 7th the weather was much more favourable than it 
had lately been. The boat pulled and sailed to the southward, 
and at noon Lieutenant Skyring ascended a height,* haviAg 
on each side of it a deep opening, but he was disappointed in 
the view ; and, after taking bearings, pulled round the adja- 
cent bights, one of which was exactly opposite Artist Bay, in 
Smyth Channel, and so near it that the two waters were only 
separated by a few hundred yards ;-f- the other, ;[ eastward of the 
height, was large, and closed at the bottom by very low lands. 
It was directly supposed to be the ' Ancon sin Salida ;'§ but 
Sarmiento's description, and the chart compiled by Burney, 

• No doubt the Mount Oracion of Sarmiento, p. 144. — P.P.K. 

+ This place is described in Sarmiento's journal, p. 144. — P.P.K. 

+ Ensenada de la Oracion of Sarnnento. — P.P.K. 

§ This bay is also described by Sarmiento as an ' Ancon sin salida,' 
p. 143 ; but it is evidently not the one that bears that name on the chart. 

262 NATIVES — CHANNELS. Aug. 1829' 

were insufficient to enable them to decide with any degree of 
certainty. After looking round this bay, they continued to 
the eastward, and passed a point beyond which there was appa- 
rently a wide channel ; having run about six miles down it 
without discovering any termination, they hauled their boat up 
on the beach for the night. 

On the 8th, two canoes were noticed on the west shore ; 
but seeing strangers the natives, apparently much frightened, 
all landed, except an old man ; and taking with them what 
they most valued, hid themselves among the brush-wood, leav- 
ing their canoes fastened to the sea- weed. By some Fuegian 
Words of invitation, the men were, however, induced to approach 
and traffic, receiving for their otter skins whatever could be 
spared. In appearance and manner these Indians were exactly 
similar to the Fuegian s ; and by their canoes only, which were 
built of planks, could they be distinguished as belonging to 
imother tribe. 

After leaving the natives, the boat passed Cape Earnest, 
and Lieutenant Skyring observed a wide channel leading north 
and then N.N.W. ;* also, another opening to the eastward. 
The wind being easterly, he ran some distance to the north- 
ward, to gain more knowledge of the first inlet ; and having 
gone ten or twelve miles from Cape Earnest, and observing 
the opening for eight miles beyond to be as wide as where they 
then were, he concluded it to be a channel, or else a deep sound 
terminated by low land, for there was evidently a division in 

* Here is certainly the Ancon sin salida of Sarmiento, whose journal 
describes the inlet as terminating- in a cove to the north, p. 142. The 
mountain of Aiio Nuevo cannot be mistaken ; indeed the whole of the 
fcoast is so well described by the ancient mariner, that we have little diffi- 
culty in determining the greater number of places he visited. In all cases 
we have, of course, preserved his names. The chart compiled by Admiral 
Burney is a remarkable instance of the care which that author took in 
arranging it, and how ingeniously and correctly he has displayed his 
judgment; it is also a proof that our favourite old Voyager, Sarmiento, 
Was at least correct in his descriptions, although he appears to have been 
quite ignorant of the variation of the compass. — See Burney Coll. 
Voyages, p. 31 ; and Sunniento, p. 162. 

Aug. 1829- LIEUT, skyeing's l>IscovER^^ 263 


the mountains, such as to justify this belief. Returning, they 
entered the smaller opening to the eastward, and were almost 
assured of its being a channel ; for when they were between 
the points, many porpoises and seals were observed, and a tide 
was found setting westward, at the rate of two knots. At dark, 
they hauled their boat on the beach of an excellent bay, at the 
north side of the narrow reach, and secured her for the night. 

On the 9th, shortly after daylight, they set out in a N.E. 
direction to ascertain the truth of their supposition; and before 
noon knew, beyond a doubt, that they were correct in their 
belief, being in the narrows of a channel before unknown, that 
had eluded Sarmiento's notice. These narrows, which Lieu- 
tenant Skyring felt assured would lead to a large opening, were 
upwards of three miles in length, and generally about one-third 
of a mile in breadth. A strong tide took the boat through ; 
and at the N.E. extremity, where the narrows were reduced to 
four hundred yards in width, the water, although a neap-tide, 
rushed at the rate of four knots, forming whirling eddies, which 
were carefully avoided by Lieutenant Skyring. At spring-tide, 
the strength of these rapids would probably not be less than 
seven knots. 

Having passed through them, a clear channel was seen, 
upwards of two miles wide, running to the N.b. E. for, at least, 
eight miles, and then turning directly eastward, between mode- 
rately high land. Another channel, nearly a mile and a half 
wide, trended to the S.E. for two or three miles, and then 
also turned to the eastward. Here they stopped. Lieutenant 
Skyring regretted extremely not being able to prosecute the 
discovery, and have one more view from the eastern point of 
the N.E. channel ; but as only one day's provisions remained, 
it would have been imprudent to delay his return. It was evi- 
dent, that they had passed through the range of the Cordil- 
leras,* for to the eastward the country appeared totally differ- 
ent, the highest hill not being above seven hundred feet. 
The opening to the N.E. was thought to communicate with the 

waters' lately discovered by Captain Eitz Hoy. The latitude 
• ' Cordillera Nevada ' of Sarmiento. 


was obtained on Point Return ; and in the afternoon, reluc- 
tantly but anxiously, they retraced their way, and passed that 
night at their former quarters, in Whale-boat Bay. 

On tlie 10th, at daylight, they proceeded on their return. 
The wind was fair until they reached Cape Earnest, when it 
drew right against them; and they had the unpleasant prospect 
of a tedious pull to the schooner, with very little provision. 

The 11th was a thoroughly wet day, and the wind was so 
strong from the northward, with a very heavy sea running, 
that it was impossible to proceed. 

On the 12th, they left the bay soon after daylight, and hav- 
ing pulled along shore a few miles, crossed Union Sound, and 
gained the Narrows of San Benito, the wind being still fresh 
from the northward ; thence they continued pulling until they 
hauled up, after dark, in a bay, opposite Point Benito, and 
waited till the morning of the 13th, when with a fresh S.W. 
wind they made good progress, which was of the more conse- 
quence, as their provisions were expended, although they had 
eked them out with corvorants and muscles. At last, the sight of 
the Adelaide rejoiced them, and they soon afterwards reached 
her. Their appearance was a relief to all who were on board, 
as they were becoming very anxious, and Lieut. Graves was 
preparing to send the other whale-boat in search of them. 
During their absence he had made the necessary astronomical 
observations, and finished the examination of those shores adja- 
cent to the harbovu's. 

From the 13th to the 17th, the schooner was detained by 
bad weatlier, and the following day only succeeded in reaching 
Escape Bay, in San Estevan Channel, which was found to be 
a good and well-sheltered anchorage, although small. 

On the 19th, after angles had been taken on each side of the 
Channel, the Adelaide got under weigh, and steered up the 
Channel. At noon she passed the mount which they supposed 
to be Sarmiento's Monte Trigo, and soon after, nearing Espe- 
ranza Island, they sought for some mark by which to recog- 
nise the Mountain of the Fox (' Monte de la Zorra'). In the 
white jiart of a cliff, they fancied some resemblance to an 



animal, and noticed a harbour opposite, in which they anchored. 
They had such trouble in getting to the northward, that this 
day's run, though only eighteen miles, was a cause of much 

On the 20th, at daylight, the boats were employed around 
the anchorage, and at nine oVlock the vessel was underweigh, 
and working to the northward, although it rained hard then, 
as well as throughout the whole day, after beating until the 
evening, she anchored on the west shore. 

Constant rain fell through the whole night, and during the 
21 st ; it was therefore impossible to make any progress to the 

On the 22d the Adelaide weighed, and the weather being 
calm, was towed during the whole forenoon. At noon a south- 
erly wind sprung up, and by the evening she was in the Guia 
Narrows (of Sarmiento). They tried for anchorage in Unfit 
Bay, conceiving it to be Sarmiento's Port Ochavario ; but 
none being found, the vessel was towed into a cove, and securely 

Next day the boats surveyed the Guia Narrows. Although 
long, they did not appear hazardous to pass, for the tides ai-e 
not very rapid. The ebb tide runs to the northward, but at 
the south entrance of the San Estevan Channel, the ebb sets to 
the southward ; which difference in direction, within so short 
a distance, is extraordinary, and difficult to account for without 
knowing more of the coast. Certainly there is a meeting of 
tides between the two entrances ; probably, all the land west- 
ward of San Estevan is a collection of large islands, and water 
flows into this channel, from the Pacific, through many open- 
ings, which may be the cause of this peculiarity. 

24th. With light breezes from the eastward, the schooner 
weighed and stood through the Narrows ; passed Point San 
Juan, and continued along the eastern shore of Concepcion 
Strait to Guard Bay, where she was moored. 

25th. Rainy weather until near noon, Avhen the boats were 

On the 26th the schooner was towed out, and, as it was calm, 


kept a boat a-head the whole day. She anchored. in a small 
bight, formed by Chance Islands, about seven miles from Guard 

The 27th was rainy, but the boats went to different points, 
and. angles were taken before the schooner weighed and worked 
northward. At noon she came to an anchor in a small bay, 
northward of the Hocico de Caiman. Constant rain during 
the remainder of the day. 

On the 28th it rained too incessantly the whole morning, to 
allow the party to work, even in boats; and the day was passed 
in laying down former observations. 

29th. After angles had been taken near the anchorage, the 
schooner was moved, and worked along the coast. A strong wind 
from the N.W., with a heavy sea, brought the vessel under 
close-reefed sails, and obliged her to anchor in Walker Bay. 

On the 30th, the Adelaide anchored in Molyneux Sound. 
To give a clearer idea of the delays experienced in making 
progress to the northward through these intricate channels, I 
shall now extract part of Lieutenant Skyring''s Journal, in his 
own words : 

"31st. Wind N.N.W. with a heavy swell in the Strait; the 
boats at daylight went north and south of the anchorage, and 
angles were obtained. At nine, ready for starting ; but the 
weather was too unfavourable, and continued so until the 4th 
of September, when, at seven o'clock in the morning, we 
weighed. At nine, squally-^obliged to double-reef; but the 
tide serving, we gained a few miles to windward, and at one, 
P.M., stood among a mass of islands on the west side, and 
moored in Tom's Bay, steadying the vessel with the stream 
anchor. In the afternoon the survey was continued, and from 
the heights a view was obtained of the Gulf of Trinidad, and 
of several points observed last year. Another detention of two 
days, owing to bad weather. 

" 7th. Cloudy ; weighed at daylight, and stood for the 
narrows. At eight, squally, with thick snowy weather ; but, 
being once under weigh, we refrained from returning, until 
compelled. It certainly was not a favourable day for working 

Sept. 3829. Indians in plank canoes. S67 

through ; Iput the wind moderated, and our attempt succeeded. 
No anchorage being found by the boats on the north side of 
the narrows, we made for the weather-shore of the gulf, and 
anchored early in Windward Bay. In the afternoon, angles 
were taken on Middle Island, and east and west of the anchor- 
age. The time of our departure drawing near, it became 
doubly necessary to work constantly, that we might join this 
survey with that of last year, in the Beagle. 

" 8th. Weighed at daylight ; wind light from N.W. ; but, 
falling calm, boats were detached for continuing the angles, and 
the latitude was observed on Red Beak Rocks. At five o'clock, 
we gained an anchorage, close to the eastward of the Ancon 
del Morro, on the S.E. side of Division Isle, in a bay which 
answered our purpose, although it was rather a confined place. 
Some angles were taken on Point Candelaria, preparatory to 
continuing our course next morning. 

" 9th. At daylight vveighed and stood over to the northern 
shore, and at eleven, anchored inNeeshamBay,in eleven fathoms. 
Boats employed in the afternoon, on the survey. While at 
anchor, two canoes, containing together thirty-two Indians, 
came alongside ; they were chiefly men, a finer race of people, 
better formed, and better featured than the Fuegians, and much 
less noisy. Their canoes were made of planks, the longest up- 
wards of twenty-three feet in length: they appeared exceedingly 
buoyant, and pulled quickly. 

" lOth. At daylight, we sailed out of the bay, with a 
light breeze from the eastward ; at seven, the wind increased, 
arid a heavy sea rose in the gulf. It was my intention to get an 
anchorage under Mount Corso ; but, as that was now a leeward 
coast, with a heavy sea setting upon the shore, it would have 
been improper to attempt seeking for one. If it had answered 
our purpose, we might have gone to Port Henry, and, indeed, 
this was the only safe course we could have pursued, if our 
object had been to remain in the gulf; but no time was left 
to wait for favourable weather ; therefore I chose in preference 
to leave the gulf, and take advantage of the fair wind to gain 
an offing, the time of our return being so near. 


" We left the gulf two days before I had expected to have 
done so ; but we all rejoiced at our departure. No crew could 
have performed their duty more willingly than the Adelaide's ; 
but such lengthened fatigue as they had undergone, was suffi- 
cient to make any men feel happy at the prospect of a respite. 

" It was a pleasing reflection to Lieutenant Graves and 
myself, that the orders had been fully executed ; that the coast 
we had passed was throughout well connected ; and that this 
service was concluded without any illness or accident among 
the crew, -svithout any damage to the vessel, without any loss 
of boats, or even the slightest misfortune." 

During the Adelaide's passage to Chiloe, Lieutenant Skyring 
and his companion were assiduously employed in transferring 
their observations to paper, notwithstanding the violent motion 
of their little vessel, during ten days of rough weather. 


Chil6e — Its probable importance — Valdivia founds seven cities; after- 
wards destroyed by the Indians — ISIigration of Spanish settlers — Pro- 
vince and Islands of Chiloe — Districts and population — Government — 
Defence — Winds — Town — Durability of wooden buildings — Culti- 
vation — Want of industry — Improvement — Dress — Habits of lower 
classes — Morality — Schools — Language — Produce — Manufactures — 
Exports and imports — Varieties of wood — Alerse — Roads — Piraguas 
Ploughs — Corn — Potatoes — Contributions — Birds— Shell-fish — Medi- 
cal practitioners — Remedies — Climate. 

As the Island of Chiloe was formerly shrouded from notice, 
by the policy of its master, the King of Spain, and therefore 
little known to the world ; I have considered it not irrelevant 
to the narration of the voyage, to introduce a short account of 
its present state, particularly as since the trade of the whole 
coast has been opened, a new era has dawned upon this interest- 
ing island ; and although it has been, as yet, the least frequented 
of the South American States, I think the time is not far distant, 
■when it will become an important part of the Chilian territory. 

After the foundation of the city of Penco, or Concepcion, by 
Don Pedro de Valdivia, in the year 1550, he passed on towards 
the south in search of convenient situations for other cities; and 
crossing the river Bio Bio, which separates Concepcion from 
the territory of the Araucanian Indians, successively founded 
Imperial, Valdivia, Villa Rica, Angol, Canete, and Osorno ; 
the last being effected in the year 1558. The necessary distri- 
bution of the Spanish forces, to protect so many points, made 
them comparatively defenceless, in a country inhabited by a 
large population of Indians, who contemplated the hostile 
occupation of their native land, by the invading army, with a 
deep dissatisfaction. They had for some time endured, with 
sullen patience, the yoke of the Spaniards; but at last, incensed 
by the servility and bondage to which they were reduced, and, 
probably, by no small portion of ill-treatment ; the whole popu- 
lation rose simultaneously, and waged a most destructive and 


harassing war against the Spaniards, in which the above-men^ 
tioned cities were all destroyed, and the greater number of their 
inhabitants put to death. 

The destruction of the city of Osorno caused the province 
of Chiloe, or, at least, the adjacent districts of Calbuco and 
Carelmapu, to be occupied. This town, being more distant 
from the seat of war, where the main body of the Indian army 
was actively employed, was enabled to hold out for some time ; 
but, at last, cut off from assistance, prevented from com- 
municating with friends, and utterly destitute of supplies, the 
inhabitants retired to the fort, or citadel ; which they main- 
tained, until compelled, by absolute want of provisions, to 
abandon their position, and proceed to the south, with a view 
of establishing themselves in Carelmapu and Calbuco ; where 
they hoped to be safe from attack. 

Their retreat was attended by much suffering ; many died 
from fatigue, and many were cut off by the Indians, who hovered 
about them and murdered all who fell into their hands.* At 
last they reached their destination, and established themselves 
first at Carelmapu, which is on the main-land, on the north side 
of the Boca de Chiloe, opposite to San Carlos ; and afterwards 
at Calbuco, on an island at the entrance to the Gulf of Relon^ 
cavi. The latter position by its insularity, was effectually pro- 
tected against any attack from Indian tribes, who, for many 
years, continually harassed the inhabitants of Carelmapu. 

At what date this journey was made does not appear ; nor is 
it certain that these places were occupied before the foundation 
of the city of Castro, in 1566, by the Licentiate Lope Garcia 
de Castro, in pursuance of an order from the Viceroy of Peru, 
Marshal Don Martin Ruiz de Gamboa.f 

The island of Chiloe, from its situation, is a place of con- 
siderable importance, and may be termed the key of the Pacific, 

• A very full and detailed account of this journey is given by Agueros, 
in his ' History of the Province of Chiloe,' pp. 50 to 06, as well as in the 
' Chronicles of the Province of Lima, by Padre Fr. Diego de Cordova,' 
Salinas, chap. xvii. p. 485. 

t Aglieros, 1. c. p, 57. 


It is the northernmost of that vast arcliipelago, which borders 
the coast from latitude 42° south to Cape Horn. 

The province of Childe, one of the eight divisions of the 
Chilian Republic, includes several islands, and extends on 
the main-land, as far as the south bank of the River Maullin;* 
which takes in the districts of Carelmapu and Calbuco. Its 
southern extent is not defined ; but as the existence of Chilian 
authority is not known, to the southward of the Chonos Archi- 
pelago, certainly not farther south than the land of Tres 
Montes, the parallel of 47° may be considered its southern 
limit. The country thence, to the Strait of Magalhaens, is 
known by the appellation of Western Patagonia. 

Besides the Isla Grande, as Childe is called, the following 
islands are inhabited : — Achao, or Quinchao, Lemuy, Quehuy, 
Chelin, Linlin, Llignua, Quenac, Meulin, Caguach or Cahua- 
che, Alao, Apiao, Chaulinec, all in front of Castro ; the Chau- 
gues Islands, opposite to Tenoun ; Calbuco, Llaichua, Quenu, 
Tabor, Abtao, Chiduapi (on which is the fort) ; Huar in the 
neighbourhood, and district of Calbuco; and, to the South, 
Tanqui, to which may be added Caylin, which is also called 
El fin de la Cristiandad.+ 

Of the above, next to the Isla Grande, the principal are 
Quinchao and Lemuy, both of which are very populous, and 

• Agueros describes its boundary thus : — It is situated between the 
latitudes 41° 30' and 44° ; from Point Capitanes to Quilan. On the north 
it is bounded by the territories of the Indian tribes Juncos and Rancos, 
which extend to Valdivia; on the N.E. by those of the ancient but 
destroyed city Osorno ; on the south by tlie archipelago of Guaitecas 
and Guaianeco, and others which extend to the Strait of Magalhaens ; 
on the east by the Cordillera ; and on the west by the sea. (AgUeros, 
p. 61.) 

t When the Yntendente, or governor of the province, visited Castro 
for the purpose of taking a census of the population, a family of Indians 
waited upon him to render an accountof their property ; who, upon being 
asked whence they came, replied, " Del fin de laCristiandad." The name 
being new to the Yntendente, it was explained to him that they belonged 
to Caylin, which was more generally known by the above name, because 
there existed no Christian population beyond, or to the southward of, 
that island. 


almost entirely cultivated. The other islands are small, and 
very close to each other ; but separated by navigable channels, 
which offer many dangers to the frail vessels in which the 
islanders move about. 

The province is divided into ten districts, or Partidos, as 
follows : — 

1. San Carlos, containing the northern coast of the island, 

as far as Chacao. 

2. Chacao. The N.E. part of the island. 
S. Carelmapu and Maullin. 

4. Calbuco. 

5. Dalcahue, extending from Chacao to Tenoun. 

6. Quenac. 

7. Quinchao. 

8. Castro. 

9. Lemuy. 

10. Chonchi, which extends from Castro to the south ex- 
tremity of the island. 

By the census of 1828, the population of the large island, 
and those in its neighbourhood would appear to be, com- 
paratively, very considerable ; the number of souls being 
43,131 :* particularly as the greater portion of the interior, and 
much of the sea-coast, are quite uninhabited. The population 
of the district of San Carlos is confined principally to the town ; 
for between it and Chacao, there are very few inhabitants. At 
Chacao there are only about two hundred houses, and Dalcahue 
is but thinly occupied: but Castro, Quinchao, and Lemuy, are 
very populous. These three districts are the most fertile and 
productive part of the island, particularly for seven or eight 
miles round Castro. The peninsula opposite to that town, which 
is entirely cleared, would abundantly repay its cultivators, 
were industry more common among them. 

Childe is governed by an ' Yntendente,' or civil governor, 
who exacts obedience to the constitutional laws, as well as 
to the orders of the executive powers, and the resolutions of the 
provincial assembly, which is composed of members, elected 

• In the year 1783 there were 23,447 (AgUeros) : and in 1832, 43,830. 


by the people, at the rate of one deputy for 7,500 souls ; but 
whatever the number may be, short of 90,000, twelve deputies 
are to be elected. The duration of the assembly is biennial, and 
its business is to superintend the civil regulations of the pro- 

Under the Yntendente each province has a local governor, 
whose principal duties are to maintain order, preside in 'the 
municipal meetings, see their regulations carried into execution, 
and obey the orders of the Yntendente of the province. Whilst 
we were at Childe, the duties of Yntendente, and military com- 
mandant, were performed by one person. Brigadier-general 
Don Jose Santiago Aldunate ; but, upon his resignation, the 
offices were separated : the military commandant retaining the 
charge of the treasury. The duties of the military chief, are to 
dispose of the troops under his command, as he sees occasion, 
so as to ensure the quietness, and subordination of the province, 
for which he is responsible ; and to render tlie Yntendente such 
assistance as he may require ; but, for all ordinary purposes, 
the Militia, who are under the immediate control of the Ynten- 
dente, are employed. For the administration of the law there 
is a Judge (Juez de letras), who tries all civil as well criminal 
actions. The province sends two deputies to the Chilian con- 
gress, one from San Carlos, and the other from Castro. At the 
beginning of the year 1829, the Militia amounted to more than 
seven thousand men, and the regular troops to three hundred 
and thirty, which was quite sufficient for the province. 

The port of San Carlos is capable of being well defended, 
and, during the time of the Spaniards, was in a good state of 
defence. The entrance was protected by a battery on the high- 
land of the Corona, and by the castle of Aguy, which effectually 
commands it. Farther in, on the same side of the port, was the 
small, but well-placed, two-gun battery of Barcacura ; close 
under which is the anchorage. On the town side there are 
several batteries ; but, towards the Pudeto it is weak, although 
capable of being made very strong. Fort San Carlos, which, 
for some years past, has been used as a cemetery, was well- 
selected as to position, and constructed in a manner very 

VOL. I. ,^, 


creditable to the engineer. It was surrounded by a deep and 
wide ditch ; and under it lay two small batteries : one, San 
Antonio, commanding the passage between the small island of 
Cochinos, and the Main ; and the other flanking the anchorage 
off the town. At the Mole were two guns, and opposite to it, 
under the governor*'s house, was the battery, Del Carmen, 
mounting twelve or fourteen guns. In the town, in a convenient 
situation, there were excellent barracks, capable of containing 
more than one thousand men. 

The original establishment was at the Sandy Point, on the 
western side of the port, where the situation is better sheltered, 
and, perhaps, equally capable of being well defended. It is, 
also, on the windward side of the harbour, and close to the 
safest anchorage which the port affords ; but the inconvenience 
of water-carriage was found to be so great, that the establish- 
ment was removed to its present site. A still better situation 
might have been selected opposite to Sandy Point, at Leche 
Agua ; where the anchorage is perfectly safe, and the commu- 
nication with Castro could be more advantageously made. 

Northerly and westerly winds prevail, and the town is exposed 
to all their fury, which, at times, is extreme. The anchorage 
nearest to it, for the sake of convenience, and expedition in 
loading and unloading cargoes, is often taken up, but is very 
unsafe, many vessels having been lost there, from the bottom 
being shoal, and rocky; and the swell, during a northerly gale, 
is so short and deep, that anchors will not hold. 

The town is built on two rising grounds, and in the valley 
that separates them ; through which a rivulet runs into the 
bay, at a mole which affords sufficient protection to the boats 
and piraguas frequenting the port. The houses, which are all 
of wood, are generally small, and have but little comfort. The 
plaza, or square, without which no town in Chile of the least 
importance is to be found, is situated on a flat piece of ground, 
at the summit of the southern hill, and commands an extensive 
view. It is about one hundred and eighty yards square, with 
a flag-staff in the centre. 

On the north side there is a strong, well-built stone store- 

StAia s A Ds 0. ID s ma. isoaoiLtis. 


Saw a;/wr ( ?i irti£ CCCyotUi):. 

-VthtJi^iiOt Jiciu_/ ( 

:'iDoro\;pn ->\.-p 


house, and opposite to it is the church, also built of stone. 
On the side next the sea is the Yntendente's residence, a low 
range of wooden buildings, erected without regard to taste, 
convenience, or comfort ; and opposite to this are two or 
three dwellings, very little superior to common huts, or 

Within the last few yeai's, however, some substantial build- 
ings have been erected by the more wealthy people in the town, 
an example which is likely to be followed. During our visit, 
several were built equally creditable for strength and con- 
venience; and not a little remarkable for the rapidity, with 
which they were completed. 

Wood, being abundant, and cheap, as well as easily worked, 
is the only material used in the construction of houses, which, 
with the exception of the provision-store, and the church, are 
all built of it ; and notwithstanding the perishable nature of 
the material, which is not protected by paint, or any external 
coating, from the humidity of the climate, they are of extraordi- 
nary durability. The treasury, one of the oldest houses in the 
place, has been built upwards of seventy years ; and is even now 
tight, and dry, and by no means unserviceable : but its removal 
has been ordered, and, probably ere this, it has been replaced 
by another. In Chacao, where, in former days, the Yntendente 
resided, the greater number of the government-buildings, not 
less than sixty or seventy years old, are still standing. This 
durability can only be accounted for by the nature of the wood, 
and the practice of charring the ends of the timbers before they 
are inserted in the ground. The lower frame is of ' Roble ;' {ty 
the beams are of laurel, and the floors and partitions, as well 
as the weather-boarding and shingles, of ' Alerse :' the latter 
forms an excellent substitute for tiles, or slate, being much 
lighter, and almost as durable. Some of the houses are thatched 
with reeds ; but this shift is only used by those who cannot 
afford the expense of shingling. 

The inclosures, round the houses, are fenced with stakes of 

CO A kind of beech, found every where on these shores. The literal 
meaning' of Roble, is oak. — R. F. 



Luma, three or four yards in length, fastened above and below 
to cross-rails, by ligatures of creeping plants, of which there is 
an abundance in the woods close to the town : the general name 
for them is Buque. 

The land in the vicinity of San Carlos, which is a peninsula, 
is cleared of timber, and partially cultivated. In the valley, 
through wliich the rivulet runs into the sea near the mole, 
there are a few attempts at gardens ; but the extent to which 
the inhabitants cultivate, seems to be confined to a rood of 
potatoes and wheat, which, with a litter of pigs, and an inex- 
haustible store of shell-fish on the coast, are the principal sup- 
port of their families. It is not surprising, when so little personal 
trouble is necessary to provide subsistence, that the Chilotes(M) 
should not be an industrious race. Byron, in his narrative of 
the loss of the Wager, has given a most excellent and correct 
account of the inhabitants of this island; which, excepting for 
those about San Carlos and Castro, may well serve at the pre- 
sent time. In the town, trade, a free communication with other 
parts of South America, and the residence of several Europeans, 
have introduced approaches towards refinement; and besides the 
articles of luxury that occasionally make their appearance, 
such as chairs and tables, crockery-ware, and similar domestic 
comforts ; shoes and stockings are now, on feast days, in com- 
mon use among the females ; although in many instances one 
can easily observe, that the wearer is actuated by vanity, rather 
than by any comfort or pleasure she derives, from a confine- 
ment to which her feet have not been accustomed.* This is one 
of the steps towards civilization, which the Chilote peasantry 
are making, and among the higher classes ' el ultimo modo ' 
(the latest fashion), is not less the theme of conversation than 
it is in other parts of the Republic. 

In style of dress, among the upper ranks, the men are more 
advanced than the women, many having been in other countries. 

(tt) Native of Chiloe.— R. F. 
AgUeros sa3'.s, " both men and women go generally with the foot 
and leg uncovered ; with the exception of the principal families ; but even 
those do not all wear shoes." — (Agueros, p. 108.) 


They have given up the use of the poncho, and in this parti- 
cular, they say they are before the gentry at Concepcion, who 
wear it on all occasions : and probably are quite right, for, with 
respect to comfort, there is mvich to admire in the poncho, as, 
of all cloaks, it is the most generally convenient, and the best 
adapted for protecting the person, especially on horseback, 
where it is indispensable : its use, however, offers the wearer 
such an opportunity to neglect the other part of his dress, 
which it eflectually conceals, that sometimes, beneath the pon- 
cho, the body is very ill-clothed. 

The dress of men in tlie lower orders, consists of a pair of 
trowsers, and a shirt, over which is thrown the all-concealing 
poncho. The women are as slightly clad ; but instead of a pon- 
cho, they wear a rebozo, or shawl, which, however, is very often 
dispensed with, and their persons are left too much exposed. 

These lower classes, or Indians, as they, with much reason, 
are termed, are scarcely superior to the uncivilized savages 
of the southern coasts; and live principally upon shell-fish, with 
what little they are enabled to procure besides by the sale of 
a few pigs, or poultry, which they rear on the scanty store of 
potatoes and wheat, that remains after their new crop comes to 
maturity. One roof shelters a whole family. Father and mother, 
sons and daughters, dogs and pigs, all live and sleep in their 
only room, in the middle of which, a fire is made ; whence the 
smoke escapes by numerous apertures in the roof and sides of 
the dwelling. 

As to their morals, within the precincts of their habitations, 
I have reason to believe they have not much to boast of, 
although they are described, by Agiieros and other writers, as 
most innocent, and well-conducted. Agiieros speaks highly of 
their character ; and cites Padre Ovalle, who, writing upon 
Chiloe, between the years 1629 and 1636, says : " The natives 
of these islands are the most docile and noble (dociles y nobles) 
of all Chile, and are the least given to drunkenness, and other 
vices; therefore they are best disposed to be edified by the 
light of the Gospel." 

Since the province became subject to the Chilian Repubhc, 



the government has made several attempts to improve the con- 
dition of the inhabitants; among which, the instruction of public 
schools, was not the least important. From an official report 
there appear to be ninety schools, in which 3,84<0 children 
receive an education, according to the abilities of the masters, 
who are employed ; but these, from the small salary attached 
to the situation, cannot be expected to be superior. 

The language in common use, is Spanish ; the original 
Indian tongue being almost forgotten : but it is supposed to 
be the same as that spoken by the Indians of Madre de Dios ; 
for, on a late occasion, a whaler which had been upon the coast 
of those islands, and had taken on board an Indian, as a pilot, 
called at Castro ; and during her visit, the Indian communi- 
cated with those who understood the language of the Chonos 
and by them was tolerably well understood. This Indian has 
been frequently embarked on board American or English 
sealers, which frequent those coasts, to serve as a pilot to the 
seal-rookeries.* He is known by the name of Dan. 

The products of the island, for the year 1828, according to 
the census, and returns, officially made, were — 

Wheat. . 64,935 fanegas (175 lbs. in a fanega) about 200,000 bushels. 
Barley.. 21,645. 
Potatoes 194,805. 

and the muster of stock, and apple-trees, as follows : — 

Horned cattle 5,41 1 head. 

Sheep 86,580 

Swine 21,645 

Apple trees 75,754 

The manufactures of the province are Carro, a coarse woollen 
cloth, two and a half, or three yards long, and three quarters 
of a yard wide, used for men's garments, and of very durable 

Ponchos — ^both these and the carro are manufactured by 
women, in a rude sort of loom, of wool dyed of various colours 
from plants that are found in the island, or imported for the 


Places where seal congregate — so called always by the scalers. 


purpose. Of the latter indigo is much used, and it is the general 
colour for the ground-work of the ponchos. 

Frezadas, bordillas, sabanillas, mantillas de lana, blankets 
or rather counterpanes of diiFerent textui'es, are also among the 
manufactures : none of the above are exported, being made 
merely for their own use. 

Cables, hawsers, and rope, they make of a plant, called Quili- 
neja, which is supposed to be the root of a species of CallLvene. 

No wine or spirit is made in the province, but Chicha (a 
very good cyder) is manufactured from apples. The only other 
fruit produced is the ' Frutilla,"* a kind of strawberry. 

The exports must very nearly amount to the value of foreign 
imports, which consist principally of sugar, wine, brandy, salt, 
wearing apparel, and household furniture. The import duty on 
European and North American produce is twenty-seven per 
cent. ; from which, however, some articles, such as arms and 
munitions of war, instruments of music, and other things of less 
importance, are exempt. Spirits of all kinds, foreign wines, 
tobacco, tea, and cards, are monopolized by the government, 
and sold at an immense profit. The unauthorized sale of these 
goods is declared illegal, and is punishable by a heavy fine, and 
sequestration of goods. 

The exports, during the year 1828, consisted of wood in 
beams, planks, and boai-ds ; hams, wheat, a small quantity of 
dried fish, fire-wood, and brooms,* to the amount of 52,320 
dollars, of which 35,683 dollars were for wood, and 10,887 for 
wheat. These articles were exported in sixteen vessels under 
national, and eight under foreign flags. The exports are said 
to be increasing veiy much. In the year 1791, Agiieros des- 
cribes the exports of alerse planks (tablones) to Lima, to be 
between fifty and sixty thousand in number ; and some years 
previous to have been in a much greater quantity. The number 
of alerse boards exported, during the last year, was 328,928, 
but of planks only 2,623. 

The island, and neighbouring part of the main land, produce 

* Potatoes are not mentioned in the report, yet they must have been 
exported iu considerable quantities. 


a great abundance, as well as variety, of wood fit for exporta- 
tion, as well as home consumption. The following is a hst of 
the principal trees, with their qualities, and the use to which 
they are most adapted. 

Avellana (Quadra heterophylla), a handsome tree, in ap- 
pearance like the ash of Europe, of a light wood, which shrinks 
very much when dry, and may be used with advantage for 
oars, being light, strong, and springy, as well as for planking 
small vessels below the water, and for the ceiling within ; it is 
bad for firewood, being too light. The seed is a nut, about the 
size of a cherry, the kernel of which is roasted and eaten. The 
tree abounds at Concepcion, and in the country to the south, 
and grows on the Peninsula of Lacuy. 

Roble (Fagus ohliqua, Mirb.), a large tree ; and, from the 
durable quality of its timber, considered the best in the island, 
for ground-frames of houses, planks for vessels, and beams. 
The piraguas are built chiefly of this wood. There are two sorts, 
one an evergreen, and the other a deciduous- leaved tree. It is 
evidently a beech, and the same that grows in all parts of the 
Strait of Magalhaens ; the smooth-leafed sort is F. ohliqua of 
Mirb. — see Bertero, in Mercurio Chileno, No. 14, p. 640. 

Tiqui, heavy wood ; but esteemed strong and durable. Pira- 
guas are sometimes built of it. 

Laurel, used for house building in-doors, for beams and 
rafters, and posts ; durable when not exposed to damp, in which 
it soon perishes. 

Mariu, a tree of great dimensions, tall and straight, the leaf 
is like that of a yew; it is a very useful wood in ship-building, 
for planks, and, next to alerse, is the best for spars which the 
island produces ; but the large trees have a great tendency to 
become rotten at the heart, owing possibly to the humidity of 
the climate, and to the very wet soil. 

As the Adelaide wanted a mast, I sent her round to Castro for 
a manu spar, for which I agreed to pay eighty dollars ; but of 
twenty trees that were cut down, not one was sound at the heart. 
The wood is heavy, with large knots, which penetrate into the 
trunk to a great depth. A great deal of this timber grows in 
the Gulf of Pehas. 


Muermo. There is no wood produced on the island more 
useful than the muermo. It is used for timbers, and knees, and 
a]] other purposes of ship-building : and is excellent for the 
planks of boats, as it bears wet and dry without suffering from 
either. It is abundant, and much used as firewood, for which it 
is well suited. 

Luma {Myrtus Luma), a very tough and useful wood, used 
for tree-nails, for stakes in fencing, for rafters in the roofs of 
houses ; and is exported in large quantities to Lima, for shafts 
and poles of carriages. The fruit is sweet, and might yield a 
strong spirit ; it is called cauchao. 

Ciruelillo, a small tree, used only for washing-bowls and 
boxes ; it is of little value. 

Quiaka. Of no value. 

Tapu, a very crooked tree, growing along the ground in 
swampy places. It might serve for floors, and timbers for small 
vessels ; but it is not used, from its being so very hard. 

Tenu, something like muermo, and considered a good wood. 

Peta, a species of Myrtus, of which lioops for barrels are 

Ralral, considered to be like the wood of the walnut-tree, and 
of general use, on account of its toughness and durability ; it is 
made into blocks for ships. 

Meli, more tough than luma : of this the country people 
make pick-axes, for cultivating the ground (Aglieros, p. I'iT). 

Pelu, also tough ; useful for axle-trees and gun-carriages 
(Aglieros, p. 127). 

Mayten, useful for turning ; and lasts long under water. 

The above mentioned are produced on the island ; but the 
two following, alerse and cypress, are from the main-land, in 
the neighbourhood of the Cordilleras. They are not only in 
general use in Chiloe, but are exported in large quantities to 
all the. ports to the northward. The alerse, near Chiloe, is of 
better quality than that which comes from Concepcion. 

The Cypress is brought to the island in 'tablones' (orplanks), 
seven or eight feet long, two inches thick, and nine or ten inches 
wide, as is also the alerse ; but the latter, from the facility with 


which it splits, is brought in boards also, four feet long, half 
an inch thick, and six inches broad, which, as I have before 
remarked, are the principal articles of barter. 

The Alerse is found in great quantities near Calbuco ; but 
at so great a distance from the beach that it cannot easily be 
conveyed thither for embarkation, except in the above form. 
The tree is cut down and squared, then hewn by the axe into 
as many logs of seven or eight feet long as it will afford ; and 
these, with the assistance of iron wedges, are split into planks 
and boards, in which state, without being further trimmed, they 
are tied together in bundles, and carried on men's backs, or 
dragged over the ground to the beach. 

The extraordinary straightness of the grain of this tree 
enables the natives to split it, so as to make it appear as if it 
had been dressed with an adze, or even with a plane ; but, as 
I have said, the axe is the only instrument used. So great is 
the difficulty of obtaining a spar of this wood, that when I 
wished to procvu-e a new mast for the Adelaide, I offered four 
times the value of an alerse spar to the natives, besides the 
assistance of twenty men, and tackles, &c. to assist in convey- 
ing it to the beach. The temptation was almost too great to be 
withstood ; but the man to whom I applied, who had before 
been employed to get masts for a schooner in the Chilian ser- 
vice, and a flag-staff for the town, said that it would take his 
own party two months to bring one to the beach : with the 
assistance of our people, however, it might be done in a month. 
The trees were distant, and there were two or three ridges of 
heights to cross, that would cause much delay. The facility 
with which these people usually handle timber was a sufficient 
proof to me that such a task, if refused by them, must be very 
difficult indeed, and I gave it up, as the Yntendente was so 
obliging as to give me the flag- staff, which had taken the same 
party two months to procure. 

The Hoxsley, a national schooner, built at Childe, for the 
government, was masted with alerse spars, which proved to be 
very strong. 

Alerse is used principally for the floors, partitions, and 


weather7boards of houses, also for shingling the roof ; for which 
purpose it is very superior and durable : after exposure to the 
weather it turns blue, and has the appearance of slate. It does 
not shrink or warp ; and though brittle, is of a very close grain, 
and well adapted for fui-niture. Of this wood the country 
people make staves for casks ; and the bark of the tree is used 
for caulking the seams of vessels, for which it answers remark- 
ably well, being extremely durable when constantly wet, 
though it soon decays when exposed to the sun and air. 

Spars of alerse, eighty or ninety feet in length, may be pro- 
cured ; and from eight hundred to a thousand boards are fre- 
quently obtained from a single tree. I was told that as many 
as one thousand five hundred have sometimes been cut out of 
one trunk. Alerse is found on the island, but not of any size. 
It is also common in the Strait of Magalhaens, in all those parts 
Avest of Cape Froward ; but there, from the poverty of the 
soil, it is of very stunted growth. 

The cypress is thought to be a different tree, but I rather 
imagine it to be only a variety ; the wood being white, whilst 
that of the alerse is of a deep red colour. As the trade of 
the island is principally carried on by water, roads are seldom 
used for that purpose, for which, indeed, the few that exist are 
far from being: convenient. Between San Carlos and Castro 
there is a road cut through the forest, forty or fifty feet in 
width, in the middle of which is a causeway, four or five feet 
wide, formed of logs of wood, laid transversely. This is the 
only way of communication, unless, which rarely occurs, the 
weather has been dry during some days ; for, off the causeway, 
there is a mere bog, in which a horse frequently sinks vip to the 
girths in mud. In many parts of the causeway, indeed, where 
the logs have decayed, and have not been repaired, the passage 
is equally bad, so that in wet weather, only persons without a 
load are able to pass. For the greater part of the way, the trees 
on each side prevent an extensive view ; but on approaching 
within five or six miles of Castro, the country becomes more 
open, having been cleared by cultivation, and there, of course, 
the road improves. 


There is a track branching off from tlie main road to the 
district of Dalcahue ; but on it, I believe, there is no cause- 

As the only mode of supplying the town of San Carlos with 
provisions is by water-carriage, it is fre(|[uently ill supplied 
during winter, when N.W. winds prevent the arrival of the 
piraguas. A southerly wind for two days, at that season, brings 
from fifty to a hundred piraguas from Dalcahue and Castro, 
laden with hams, potatoes, pigs, grain, fowls, calves, dried fish, 
and charcoal, which are sold at a cheap rate, paying one-tenth 
to the government. 

The arrival of so many piraguas at San Carlos creates no 
slight bustle in the neighbourhood of the mole ; and a stranger 
happening to arrive at the time would think it a place of con- 
siderable trade ; the return, however, of the N.W. wind, with 
all its attendant " vapours, clouds, and storms,"''' very soon dis- 
pels the illusion : the piraguas depart, one after another, and 
in two days all is dull and monotonous. 

These piraguas, the boats used by the natives of the archi- 
pelago of Childe, are all similar in form and material ; but 
vary much in size, according to the voyage they have to per- 
form. The largest are from thirty-five to forty feet long. The 
head and stern are alike, and resemble those of a whale-boat, 
being sharp at both ends. The transverse section is that of a 
thick wedge, so that they have no bearings, and must be 
extremely unsafe,(y) particularly with so lofty a sail as they 
hoist; and yet these vessels have made long, and even dangerous 
passages, as is fully attested in Agiieros's account of the mis- 
sionaries'" visit to the archipelago southward of Tres Monies. 
These boats are literally sewn together, there is not a nail used 
in their construction; every portion of the hull is of a vegetable 
nature. The lower, or garboard strake, is sewn to the keel by 
strips of the stem of a creeping plant, called Pepoi,* and the 
seam is caulked with bark of the alerse, which, while under 

CvJ When moderately laden they are stiff under sail ; and are not such 
very bad sea-boats, if properly managed. — R. F. 
* Molina, i. 167. A species of Dolichos.' 


Avater, is admirably adapted for the purpose. The upper plank- 
ing consists of three or four broad boards on each side, sewn 
together, and their seams caulked. The wood of which they 
are made is the roble, or sometimes tiqui. 

Agueros's description of the construction of a piragua cannot 
be improved. " They are constructed of five or seven planks, 
each of which is from two to four fathoms long, half or three- 
fourths of a yard wide, and two or three inches thick. These 
are fashioned, or worked, narrow at each end, so as to form 
the bow and stern, and afterwards are exposed to the fire, in 
order to burn the outer surface on both sides. To unite these 
planks, they bore or burn holes, two inches from each other, 
along the edges of the planks, through which they sew them 
together with a rope of solid reeds (soquillas), or twisted cane 
(coligues), forming a junction as close as a seam of cloth. To 
])revent water from passing through the seams, they apply 
along the plank, within and without, pounded leaves of trees, 
over which they pass the stitches, and with the same prepara- 
tion of leaves the holes are filled up. Thus constructed, it is 
in appearance a perfect boat, or vessel, but without keel or deck. 
That they may resist the pressure of the water, and retain their 
shape, curved pieces (curbas) of wood, called ' barrotes"" are 
fitted inside, and fastened by wedges of wood, instead of nails. 
For all this, they are dangerous; and, since their sails, oars, 
and other furniture are very inferior to what boats require, 
they are much exposed to be easily sunk, and the risk is greatly 
increased by want of care and management in those who navi- 
gate them." 

In the above description Agiieros has given a very good 
account of the rude manner in which they are built, and has not 
in the least magnified the danger attendant on their use. It 
is, indeed, a miserable and unsafe vessel ; and for the rudeness 
of its construction, and the poverty of its equipment, is a per- 
fect prototype of the crew which it conveys. 

The largest have from eight to ten people, each of whom 
furnishes one poncho, and the 'patron,' who steers, and directs 

286 piragua's sail — plough. 1829- 

the course and all their movements, pi-ovides two ponchos, all 
which are sewn together to form their sail, which is hoisted by 
' lazos,' or thongs of bullock's hide. 

These sails are generally in a wretched state, the name San- 
tisima is applied to them all by the crews, with the hope of 
securing tlie protection of their patron saint. The anchor is of 
wood, formed of four crooked pieces, in the shape of a grapnel 
with four flukes, at the bottom, or crown of which a large stone 
is fastened, to increase its weight. The crews are exceedingly 
timid, and instead of making exertions to extricate their vessel 
fi'om any impending danger, they throw themselves on their 
knees, beating their breasts and calling loudly upon their saint, 
for ' misericordia.' 

I was given to understand that very few of them can swim> 
which seems extraordinary, since they are born and bred in 
the immediate vicinity of the sea, and depend chiefly upon its 
productions for subsistence. The fact speaks strongly for the 
indolence of their character, even although the rigour of the 
climate forms a bar to bathing as a mere amusement. Several 
piraguas were lost while we were at Childe, and, as may be 
inferred, their crews were all drowned. 

With regard to the cultivation of land, they are very far 
behind, and, comparing the present state with the description 
of Byron (1740), and of Agueros (1791), very little improve- 
ment seems to have been made. The ground is prepared by 
make-shift ploughs, of a very rude construction. Two poles of 
hard wood (luma), about three yards long and proportion ably 
large, trimmed to a sharp point at one end and rounded at the 
other, are held by the middle, one in each hand, and pointed 
very obliquely into the ground ; in this direction they are 
forced forward, by pressing against the blunt end with the 
abdomen, which is defended by a sheepskin, suspended in the 
form of an apron. After these have penetrated twelve or four- 
teen inches into the soil, a second person, generally a woman or 
a boy, places a stovit stick under the poles, or ' lumas,' as they 
are called, close to the earth, to form a solid support for them. 


























1829. SOIL CORN — POTATOES. 287 

The large ends are then forced down, the ground turned up, 
and the lunias pushed forward again, while the woman uses 
her stick to turn the clods over, to the right afid left, alter- 
nately. These clods are afterwards broken up by a wooden 
tool, in the shape of a pick-axe, called ' hualate,^ made of the 
wood named meli. Rude as this process is, the operation is 
rapidly performed, and I have seen a field, ploughed in this 
way, that would not do much discredit to an expert plough- 
man with a European plough. 

The soil is a rich, sandy loam, of a dark red colour ; and 
although rarely, if ever manured, produces fair average crops. 
According: to the usual allowance of ITSlbs for a fanega of 
wheat,* the weight of a bushel would not be more than Slilbs., 
which shews that the grain is but poor. Wheat is sown in the 
month of April, and cut in the same month of the following 
year ; but from the humidity of the climate, and constant rain, 
particularly at that season (the commencement of winter), it is 
frequently reaped before it is ripe, and almost always gathered 
in wet. Every subsequent sunny day is taken advantage of, to 
dry the grain, but a part must be spoiled by mildew. The 
evaporation, however, is so great, that merely moving it about, 
and keeping it thinly strewed in granaries, will effect much. 
It is trodden out by oxen, and to clean it, the grain is thrown 
up in the wind by means of broad wooden shovels, and effec- 
tually separated from the chaff. This rude winnowing takes 
place frequently in the principal streets of San Carlos, and 
even at the mole, where one would suppose that a great deal 
must be lost ; but from the adroitness of the operation, it is 
not only well cleaned, but suffers no diminution. 

Potatoes are planted in September, October, and November, 
and are fit to dig up in May. 

Of the proceeds of harvest, one-tenth is paid as a tribute, or 

• The fanega weighs 175 lbs. and contains twelve almudes, which 
being cubic measures of eight inches and a half, contain each 614vl25 
cubic inches ; therefore a fanega contains 7369-5 cubic inches, and as an 
English bushel contains 2150-4 cubic inches ^^^^^^ = 51 /^ lbs. the 
weight of a bushel. 


tax, to the government ; but forced contributions may be 
required, when the necessities of the state demand them. These 
contributions are sometimes unfairly levied in Chile ; for the 
subsidy is only taken from those who possess grain, or some 
equally tangible article which can easily be turned into money ; 
so that persons who are rich enough to live without culti- 
vating land, or trading for their support, contribute nothing 
towards the emergency of the State. How does this accord 
with republican principles ? or how can a republican govern- 
ment, so conducted, expect to become respectable among 
nations ? 

I am not aware that s\ich contributions have yet been levied 
in Childe. From the character of General Aldunate, I do not 
for a moment think lie would commit such an act of injustice ; 
but it is in the power of any Yntendente to call for them, and 
I afterwards witnessed an example of this, during my visit to 
Concepcion. A considerable quantity of wheat, purchased by 
a Russian vessel, for the use of their settlements on the coast 
of California, was brought down to the port, at a time when 
the government was much in want of money, and knew no just 
way of obtaining it. They therefore very unceremoniously seized 
the wheat, and applied its value in dollars to their own use, 
giving only an uncertain, almost a nominal security to the owner 
for the recovery of his money. The only way of accounting for 
such an arbitrary proceeding is, that the country was distracted 
by civil war, and tliat the person who owned the property was 
opposed to that party, which at the time happened to have the 
upper hand, and which held, by main strength alone, the reins 
of government. 

Among the birds of Chiloe, the most remarkable are the 
'Cagge,' the ' Cancania,' or 'Canquenaj'andthe 'Barking bird.'* 

• Molina notices the ' Cag-ge,' or ' Childe duck,' {Anas nntarctica) 
vol. i. p. 268, and calls it Anas hyhrida. M. Lesson, 'in his ' Manuel 
d'OrnithoIogie,' ii. 409, has taken great pains to describe it, and remarks, 
with reason, that much obscurity exists in the specific descriptions of the 
goose kind in the Malouine (Falkland) Islands, and the extreme southern 
land of America. The male, Lesson says, is white, the feet and beak of 

a brisrlit 


The shell-fish,* for which this island is justly famed, are 
principally brought from Calbuco, and consist of the finest 

a bright yellow colour. All the specimens that we saw, and numbers were 
killed by us, had a black beak with a red cere — otherwise M. Lesson's 
description is correct. In many specimens, however, we found the tip of 
the primary wing- feathers black, which is not to be wondered at when 
the colour of the female is considered, but which it is not an easy task to 
describe. M. Lesson, I think, has done it justice in a note to his vol. ii. 
p. 409: — "Anas antarctica. A capite griseo, genis gulo eolloque albo et 
nigro acuti-striatis ; oculorum circuitu nudo : pectore abdomineque 
omninS atris, atquevittis niveis notatis : tectricibus alarum nigris ; dorso 
uropygio cauda et ano albis ; alis niveis cum speculo lato virescente, brun- 
neo marginato; pennis longis aterrimis; rostro et pedibus, aurantiacis." 

These birds are very common in the Straits of Magalhaens, and every 
where on the west coast between the Strait and Chiloe ; also at the Falk- 
land Islands. 

The Cancania (or Canquehu) is the A71US Magellanka, Anser Magella- 
nicus (Ency. Meth. p. 117). From Buifon's description, and a well-drawn 
but badly-coloured figure, in the Planches Enluminees, No. 1006, I have 
no hesitation in assigning it to that kind. The colour of the head, how- 
ever, instead of being 'reddish purple,' is cinereous with a reddish hue ; 
the feathers of the sides and thigh covers are white, with five black bars, 
the extremity being white ; the central portion of the abdomen is white ; 
the speculum of a splendid shining green. This bird is common to the 
Strait as well as to Chil6e, and is probably Byron's ' Painted Duck,' and 
the Anser pictus of the Ency. Meth., p. II7. M. Lesson considers Anas 
leucoptera, Gmel. as the male of Anas Ma ffellanica, which maybe doubted. 
The ' Barking Bird,' as our sailors called it, was first brought to me by 
Capt. Stokes, having been shot during the Beagle's visit to Port Otway, in 
the Gulf of Penas, It was an imperfect specimen ; but Mr. Tarn afterwards 
obtained for me several others. It seems to have a great af&nity to the 
genus Megapodius; but no specimens of that genus being in England when 
I was last there, and the Barking Bird difi'ering in essential points from 
M. Tenminck's description of the genus, and from the figured specimen of 
Megapodius Freycineltii ; — particularly in the length and form of its wings, 
which are rounded, and so short as not to reach beyond the base of the 
tail ; — also in the emargination of the upper mandible; — I have been in- 
duced, by Mr. Vigors' advice, to form it, provisionally, into a new genus, 
termed Hylactes. (See Proc. Zool. Soc, vol. i. p. 1 5.) There is another spe- 
cimen in our collection (now in the Zoological Society's Museum), which 
will probably be placed in this genus, but there existed some uncertainty in 
essential points, which prevented my describing it before I left England. 

* Among the numerous testaceous productions is a small shell, which 
VOL. I. U constitutes 


muscles, of which there are two sorts : the Choro {Mytilus 
Chorcis, Molina), and Cholgua (Mytilus Magellanicus, La- 
marck^, Picos {Balanus psittactis nob. Lepas psittacus Mo- 
lina, 1, p. 223J, a large barnacle,* and the oyster (0. Edulis), 
which is exceedingly well-flavoured. Besides which there are 
several kinds of shell-fish of less value, but equally abundant, 
such as Navajuelas (Solen sp.) ; Caracoles (Turbo) ; Cornes 
{Pholas Chiloensis, Molina) ; Campana {Calyptrcea) ; Lapas 
(^Crepidula) ; Tacas (Chama Thaca, Molina); Locos (Con- 
cholepas Peruviana, Murex Loco of Molina) ; Quilmagues ; 
Piures (Pyura sp. Molina) ; and others. 

The apparently inexhaustible abundance of shell-fish with 
which nature has provided the inhabitants of these islands, the 
facility with which they are obtained, and their consequent 
cheapness, is the principal cause of that want of industry 
which is so remarkable in the Chilotes. 

Of the above-mentioned shell-fish, those deserving more par- 
ticular notice are the large muscle, the oyster, and the pico. 

Molina has described the choro of Concepcion, which is not 
at all different from that of Childe. It is often found seven 
or eight inches long. The fish is as large as a goose's egg, and 
of a very rich flavour: there are two kinds, one of a dark brown, 
and the other of a yellow colour ; but the last is most esteemed. 
There is also another sort, much larger than the choro, yet 
equally delicate and good, the fish of which is as large as a 
swan's egg: it is called cholgua; but as the shells seem to be of 
the same species, I think the distinction can only be owing to 
size. In Febres's Dictionary of the Chileno language, the word 

constitutes a new genus. Marinula, nob. in Zool. Journal, vol. v. p. 343. 
It was found on the wooden piles which support the mole in the bay of 
San Carlos, below the wash of the high water. The mole stands out into 
the sea, and there is no fresh water near it, save a very little rill, which 
discharges its tiny stream more than fifty yards off. This shell was named 
Marinula Pepita, Zool. Journal, 1. c. No. 43, The following is its generic 
character: — 'Testa ovato-producta, sub-solida; apertura ovata, Integra; 
columella bidentata et basin versus uniplicata; dentibus magnis sub- 
reraotis conniventibus, superior! maximo ; operculum nullum.' 
* Zool. Journal, vol. v. p. 333. 


cholchua is rendered into Spanish by " cascara de choros blan- 
cos," or shell of the white muscle. Cholhua, or cholgua (the 
letters g and h are indiscriminately used), must be a corrup- 
tion ; for it is now used in Childe to distinguish the large from 
the small choros. 

The manner in which the natives of these islands, both In- 
dians and descendants of foreigners, cook shell-fish, is very 
similar to that used for bakinjj in the South Sea Islands, and on 
some parts of the coast of New Holland. A hole is dug in the 
ground, in which large smooth stones are laid, and upon them 
a fire is kindled. When they are sufficiently heated, the ashes 
are cleared away, and shell-fish are heaped upon the stones, 
and covered, first with leaves or straw, and then with earth. 
The fish, thus baked, are exceedingly tender and good ; and 
this mode of cooking them is very superior to any other, as 
they retain, within the shell, all their own juiciness. 

The oyster, which is a true Ostrea ednlis, is found in beds, 
at low water, or taken with the dredge. It is about the size of 
the native oyster of England, and not at all inferior to it in 
flavour. In Agiieros"'s account of Childe, he notices this excel- 
lent shell-fish ; but remarks, that the islanders are ignorant of 
the value at which it is appreciated. It is rather curious, that, 
excepting in the neighbourhood of Childe, the oyster is very 
rarely to be met with on the South American coast, while there 
it is in the greatest abundance. We have never observed any 
shells of this fish anywhere between the river Plata and Chi- 
lde ; nor is it known elsewhere upon the western coast, I 
believe, to the southward of Guayaquil, which is very near the 
equinoctial line.* The oyster-shells at Port San Julian are fos- 
sils. Of the Linnaean genus, Ostrea, there are many sorts, on 
all parts of the coast, both east and west, but they are what we 
call the pecten or scollop. At Coquimbo, a species of scollop is 
much used as an article of food, and called oyster ; but it has 
no further right to the name than because Linnaeus classed them 
all as Ostrea, and Molina describes this to be Ostrea edulis. 

* Some have since been found on the north-east side of the Guaytecas 

u 2 


The pico, \\ liicli is a barnacle, grows to a very large size ; 
at Concepcion, however, it is still larger, being six or seven 
inches in length. It has, when properly cooked, very much the 
flavour of a crab, and by the inhabitants of this Archipelago is 
considered preferable to any other shell-fish. 

Before concluding this imperfect description of the shell-fish 
of Childe, the piure claims some consideration, if it be only for 
its peculiar and disagreeable appearance. It was considered by 
Molina as a genus allied to Ascidia (Mol. i. 214), none of the 
varieties of which are inviting in their look, as an edible sub- 
stance, but the piure is still less so. It is thus described by 
Molina : " The piure, scarcely deserving the name of a living 
animal, is as remarkable for its figure, as for the manner in 
which it is lodged. The body is about the size and shape of a 
small pear, an inch in diameter ; or it may be described as a 
small, conical, fleshy bag, of a red colour, filled with sahne 
liquor, and provided with two trunks or processes in the 
upper part, one of which is the mouth, similar to that of the 
Tetias ; and between these processes are seen two small, black, 
and shining points, which are supposed to be the eyes. I could 
distinguish no other organs, nor any viscera in the fleshy sub- 
stance of which it is composed, which is smooth without and 
spongy within They are extremely sensitive, and when touched, 
spout water out of both apertures. These small animals are 
shut up in a firm, but glutinous case, of various shapes; one 
case often contains eight or ten distinct bodies, separated from 
each other by cells, formed of a strong membraneous substance. 
They are attached to rocks or stones, under water, excepting 
when left uncovered by a low tide. The natives eat them boiled, 
or roasted in their shells. They also dry them for exportation 
to the province of Cusco, where their flavour is much esteemed, 
and considered equal to that of the lobster." 

At Childe, the piure is said to be a remedy for barrenness ; 
and to such an extent has this idea prevailed, that a Chilote 
woman, eating this fish, literally says, if asked what she is 
doing, that " she is making children." One would not, how- 
ever, suppose, from the number of children which are seen 


crowding round the doors, that the Chilotes had any necessity 
for such food. 

If one may judge from the few applications made to our 
medical men for advice, the climate is either very healthy, or 
the natives prefer their own mode of cure. They have very 
few medical advisers, and those few are not held in much 
estimation, being people of little or no education. A prejudice 
against medical men has been, even in late years, extended to 
foreign practitioners, and carried to great lengths. This illiberal 
feeling is, however, fast wearing away ; but, among the lower 
orders, the application of herbs and other simples is yet wholly 
resorted to for the removal of their complaints. One day, when 
I was employed in malting some astronomical observations, at 
Sandy Point, a woman passed me, and forcing her way through 
a thicket of thorny plants, began to gather branches of a spe- 
cies of arbutus (A. rigida.), a small shrubby plant, which is 
every where abundant, especially to the south, and in the Strait 
of Magalhaens. My curiosity prompted me to inquire her rea- 
son for collecting it with such apparent anxiety. She replied, 
with a desponding air, " It is chaura* for a poor, sick child. 
These branches," she said, " are to be put into the fire, and, 
being green, will produce a thick smoke, and yield a very strong 
aromatic smell. The child, who is only five months old, is to 
be held over it, which, as they say, is a good remedy ; but," 
she added, with an air of doubt, " I know not (dicen que es 
bueno, pero yo no se)."" " Who says so?''' I asked. " Los que 
saben (those who know)," replied the half-credulous mother, 
with a deep sigh, partly doubting the efficacy of the remedy, but 
unwilling to lose the advantages of whatever virtue it might 
possess, for the benefit of her sick infant. 

The climate of Chiloe is considered, by those who live in 
other parts of Chile, to be " rigorous, cold, and damp." Cer- 
tainly there is much reason for such an opinion, particularly 
in the winter months, when it almost always rains, and the 
wind, with little cessation, blows hard, from N. to N.W., and, 

Chaura. Una murta que no so come. Febres, Diet, of the Chileno 
lang;uage. It is, however, edible, and has rather a pleasant flavour. 

294 • CLIMATE. 

by the W. to S.W. ; but notwithstanding the great quantity 
of rain that falls, the evaporation is great, and it cannot there- 
fore be called unhealthy ; indeed, from experience, it is con- 
sidered quite otherwise. Agiieros, to whose excellent account 
of Childe I have so often referred, dilates much upon this 
subject, and from having resided there a considerable time, may 
be taken as the best authority. Those who now reside upon 
the island speak very much against it, and all whom I met, 
previous to my visit, condemned it, as being " the worst in the 
world." Perhaps we, who had lately been experiencing a much 
more disagreeable climate, went to Childe with the expectation of 
finding it exceed in severity that to which we had been accus- 
tomed in the Strait of Magalhaens, but we found ourselves 
agreeably mistaken. Our visit certainly was in the better season, 
and we had, perhaps, no right to form a decided opinion upon 
the other part of the year. I shall, therefore, first quote Agiieros, 
and then describe what we found the weather from September 
to December; yet as these months were considered by the inha- 
bitants to be finer than is usual at that season, we can only form 
a vague idea of the spring and summer. For the autumn and 
winter I must depend upon the accounts of others. 

After explaining the contra-position of the seasons, to what 
is experienced north of the equator, with regard to the months 
of the year; Agiieros says, "Childe has also its four seasons, but 
does not enjoy the benefit of those changes, as do other parts of 
Chile ; for there is neither that abundance of fruit, nor are its 
fields adorned with so many and such beautiful flowers, and 
useful medicinal plants. The summer is the best time ; for in 
the month of January, from ten oVlock in the morning till 
three in the afternoon, the heat is excessive. Between these 
hours, however, a sea-breeze, which is called ' Vira-zon,' re- 
freshes the air. In the winter the temperature is very cold ; 
but the frosts are by no means so severe as in Europe. I have 
never seen ice, even in the small streams, nor does snow lie any 
length of time on the ground. 

" In the winter months, as well as in other parts of the year, 
there are falls of rain, and heavy gales from N.N.W., and west. 



which last frequently for the whole moon, with scarcely a ces- 
sation, and the wind, at times, is so furious, that the houses are 
not secure, and the largest trees are torn up by the roots. The 
weather, when it is fine, cannot be depended upon for any 
length of time ; not even in summer ; for in the month of 
January I liave frequently experienced gales, and rain, as 
severe and copious as in the winter. During the summer months 
southerly winds are more prevalent, and, while they last, the 
weather is fine, and clear, and the air particularly dry. 

" Although the winter months, and a considerable part of 
the other seasons, are very disagreeable, owing to the severity 
of the winds, and exceeding quantity of rain, it cannot be denied 
that the climate is healthy. In Childe no epidemic diseases are 
experienced. The small-pox and measles are not known ;* nor 
have tertian fevers, so common in the north, ever been expe- 
rienced on the island. Spotted fever (tabardillo), and acute 
pains in the stomach, are the only disorders to which the inha- 
bitants of this archipelago are subject. Thunder and light- 
ning are rarely experienced ; but earthquakes have occurred at 
intervals. In the year 1633 the church and houses were de- 
stroyed, and in the year 1737 much damage to the village of 
Isla grande was caused by earthquakes." 

So far AgUeros. On the whole, the climate is not so unfa- 
vourable as we had been led to expect from all that we had 

Captain Fitz Roy arrived there in July, during the latter 
part of which, and the month of August, the weather was very 
wet, with some heavy gales from the N.W. ; but in his Meteo- 
rological Journal for those months there is no record of the 
thermometer falling below 38°, a'nd it is recorded to have fallen 
to that degree only on one occasion, the general height being 
from 45° to 50°. The first part and the middle of September 
were boisterous and wet ; but towards the end of the month the 
wind was chiefly from the southward, and the weather dry and 

• The small-pox was introduced into the island, in the year 1776, by '^ 
ship from Lima ; but it was confined to San Carlos, and was soon eradi- 
cated. The measles also w ere introduced by similar means, in the year 
1769; but did not re-appear after once ceasing-. 



extremely fine. In October it was rather changeable ; but for 
the last ten days, with the exception of one, on which there 
was a fresh gale with a heavy fall of rain, it was fine and dry, 
and the winds were moderate. 

The month of November was generally fine, but the first 
half of December continued tempestuous and wet. The mean 
temperature of the months, and other meteorological remarks, 
are as follows : 

Remaining in 
the gage at 







end of month. 

















Quantity fallen. 

1 1 




<— ' 













I t> 






Weight of a 





cubic foot of air. 







Pryness by 
Thermo. Scales. 




























Dew Point 





less than Air. 












Dew Point. 







1 3 



reduced to 32°. 


1 '-' 












1 SQ 













, «5 




1 <# 







1 : 




s < 

n S « 























fN ' 






6P S. 




This table partly shows the state of the weather during three 
spring months. The gi-eatest quantity of rain in the gage at the 
end of the month of November did not exceeed 2-6 inches. At 
St. Martin's Cove, near Cape Horn, after thirty days' obser- 
vation, the rain-gage contained eight inches ; so that although 
Childe bears the character of being a very wet place, it is not 
one-third so bad as Cape Horn. The time of our visit to San 
Carlos was certainly the finest part of the year ; and I believe 
that the weather we experienced was unusually dry even for 
the season ; therefore, the above table does not present a fair 
criterion of the climate : I do not, however, think it is by any 
means so bad as has been represented. 


Chiloe the last Spanish possession in South America — Freyre's Expe- 
dition — Failure — Second Expedition under Freyre and Blanco — 
Quintanilla's capitulation — Chiloe taken — Aldunate placed in com- 
mand — Chil6e a dependency of Chile — Beagle sails to sea coast of 
Tierra del Fuego — Adelaide repaired — Adelaide sails — Adventure goes 
to Valparaiso — Juan Fernandez — Fishery — Goats — Dogs — Geology — 
Botany — Shells — Spanish accounts — Anson's voyage — Talcahuano — 
Concepcion — Pinoleo — Araucanian Indians — Re-enter the Strait of 
Maghalhaens — Fuegians, 

The island of Chiloe was the last place the Kingof Spain pos- 
sessed in South America ; and even to this day he is not without 
friends there, who would gladly restore his absolute monarchy, 
notwithstanding the advantages that are acknowledged to have 
been derived from the change of masters, and the consequent 
opening of trade, which has added very much to the comfort, 
as well as civilixation of the inhabitants. 

During the struggle for independence, this island was too 
distant from the seat of war to render it important ; but when 
all other parts of Chile were freed from the king's troops, the 
new government despatched an expedition, consisting of between 
three and four thousand men, commanded by the Director- 
General Freyre, to attack it. Upon the appearance of this expe- 
dition ofF the harbour of San Carlos, the Spanish governor, 
Quintanilla, was inclined to capitulate ; but, instead of anchor- 
ing in the roads, the squadron proceeded to Chacao, landed 
troops there, and despatched some of their forces to Castro, 
where they were repulsed by the Spanish and native troops, 
and obliged to re-embark. In this interval, one of the ships left 
the squadron, and returned to Valparaiso, whence she was imme- 
diately ordered back ; but meanwhile the Director had embarked 
his troops, and returned to Concepcion. Not long afterwards, 
in January 1826, a second expedition, under the same general, 
sailed from Valdivia, convoyed by a strong squadron, under 
the command of Admiral Blanco. 


" Upon this occasion the troops landed, on the 8th, at the 
little inlet of the Bay of Huechucucuy ; and Fort Corona was 
immediately taken. On the 10th, the disembarkation of the 
troops was completed. A battaUon was left to mask Fort Aguy, 
while a force, under Colonel Aldunate, passed on, and took 
the battery of Barcacura. On the 10th, Admiral Blanco shifted 
his flag; and, leaving the O'Higgins outside, stood into the 
bay with the rest of the squadron, which anchored off Barca- 

" The governor, Quintanilla, with upwards of three thousand 
Royalists, took up a strong position on a hill, at the S.E. side 
of the bay, flanked on the left by an impenetrable wood, on 
the right by the shore, and supported by three gun-boats in 
shallow water. These were taken by the boats of the squadron, 
under Captain Bell, and turned against the Royalists. Their 
position was thus enfiladed, and they retired. Freyre then 
advanced : some skirmishing took place : Quintanilla capitu- 
lated ; and the territory of Chile was no longer sullied by the 
Spanish flag. 

" Colonel Aldunate, Majors Maruri, Asagra, and Tupper 
(a native of Jersey) ; and Captain Bell, of the navy, greatly 
distinguished themselves." — Miller's Memoirs. 

Colonel Aldunate was afterwards invested with the govern- 
ment of the island ; but, owing to the disaffection of the troops, 
who were urged on by the King of Spain's agents, a revolution 
took place, Aldunate was imprisoned, and afterwards sent to 
Valparaiso, and the Spanish flag once more waved in Chiloe. 
It was, however, for a short time only ; Aldunate was des- 
patched once more, and with a small force of three hundred 
veteran troops, headed by Colonel Tupper, and accompanied 
by the Aquiles, brig of war, again obtained possession of the 
island, which he has since kept, though not quietly, for the 
Royalists were constantly on the alert, and made several futile 
attempts to recover the place for their king. Time has now 
reconciled the greater number to the change ; and, I believe, 
Chiloe may be considered a contented dependency of the re- 
public of Chile. 


The Beagle being ready to resume her voyage, sailed on the 
19th of November to survey the southern coasts of Tierra del 
Fuego ; after which, she was to rejoin the Adventure at Rio 
de Janeiro.* 

As the Adelaide had received some damage in getting 
aground, it was requisite to lay her on the beach for examina- 
tion and repair. Her mainmast, also, was found to be sprung 
so badly, as to render a new one necessary ; which we should 
have found much difficulty in obtaining, but for the kindness 
of General Aldunate, who, finding that we were at a loss, pro- 
posed to give us the flag-staff of the town, a beautiful spar of 
alerse, that was in every way suitable. Previously, however, to 
accepting his offer, being aware that such an act might expose 
him to much reproach. from the people of the town, who were 
all very proud of it, I caused inquiry to be made whether a 
spar of the necessary dimensions could be brought from Cal- 
buco ; and in the meantime we proceeded Avith the repairs. 

A creek behind Sandy Point offering every convenience for 
heaving her down, the Adelaide was moved into it, and laid 
on the beach. On stripping her copper off, the injury proved 
to be considerable ; but not beyond our means to repair. Upon 
examination, the foremast was found to be in a bad state, but 
could be rendered effective by fishing it with the sound portion 
of the other mast, therefore our only real difficulty was to get a 
mainmast. From the account I received from Calbuco, I found 
that, without a great delay, not less than two months, and 
sending a portion of our people with ropes and tackles, there 
was no chance of procuring a spar : it could only be obtained 
at a considerable distance from the shore, and when felled must 
be dragged over several high ranges of hills, which might be 
called mountains, before it could be got to the water-side. 
General Aldunate, through whom this inquiry was made, then 
renewed his offer of the flag-staff, which I accepted most thank- 
fully ; and by his order it was taken down, and conveyed to 
the ship, soon after which it was converted into an excellent 
mainmast for the schooner. Before it was moved, a new, but 
* See orders to Captain Fitz Roy, in the Appendix. 



iri fl^ p i-r ryj ^ : ■ 

N Si\(K !PT A K E W 

>. V 


,lh,,rr, r,iv-j: 


shorter staff, with a topmast, was fitted for the flag ; notwith- 
standing which, many unpleasant observations were made, and 
absurd reports circulated, which spread to Chile, and even to 
Peru, that the English were about to take possession of Chiloe, 
and had already removed the flag-staff of San Carlos. 

By Lieutenant Mitchell's activity in superintending the 
Adelaide's repairs, she was got ready for sea at the beginning 
of December, and sailed on the 8th, under the command of 
Lieutenant Skyring, with orders* to survey those parts of the 
Gulf of Penas which had not been examined by the Beagle; 
particularly the River San Tadeo, in San Quintin's Sound ; the 
openings behind Xavier Island ; the Channel's Mouths ; and 
the Guaianeco Islands, where the Wager was wrecked : and 
then to proceed down the Mesier Channel, behind the Island 
Campana, which was supposed to communicate with Concepcion 
Strait, by the Brazo Ancho (or Wide Channel) of Sarmiento. 
He was then to go to the Ancon sin Salida, examining all 
the openings into the main land, on his way, and search for a 
communication with the large waters, discovered by Captain 
Fitz Roy, through which he was to try to enter the Strait, 
and join the Adventure, at Port Famine, during the month of 

Lieutenants Skyring and Graves again took with them, by 
Captain Fitz Roy's permission, Mr. Kirke and Mr. Bynoe, of 
the Beagle ; Mr. Alexander Millar and Mr. Parke also accom- 
panied them. 

Having thus despatched our companions, we prepared, on 
board the Adventure, to return to Valparaiso; intending to 
proceed to Rio de Janeiro; by way of Concepcion, Port Famine, 
and Monte Video ; for the sake of adding some links to our 
chronometric chain : with a view to which, I hud taken the 
opportunity of having the chronometers cleaned at Valparaiso 
by Mr. Roskell, agent for Messrs. Roskell chronometer-makers 
at Liverpool. General Aldunate being on the point of returning 
to Valparaiso, I had an opportunity of obliging him, and show- 
ing my sense of the assistance, and essential kindness we had 
• See orders to Lieut. Skyring, in the Appendix. 

302 JUAN FERNANDEZ. Jan. Feb. 1830. 

received, by cfTering him and all his family a passage in 
the Adventure, which he accepted ; and on the 17th we left 
Chiloe. In our way we touched at Concepcion, and anchored 
at Valparaiso on the 2d of January. 

We remained there until the 11th of February, and then 
sailed on our return to Rio de Janeiro, with the intention of 
passing though the Strait of Magalhaens, and taking that 
opportunity of completing some few parts, which our former 
surveys had left unfinished. As the breeze, which, on this 
coast, blows with the constancy of a trade wind, would carry 
us close to the island of Juan Fernandez, I determined upon 
visiting it, for a few days ; and then proceeding again to Con- 

We reached Cumberland Bay, on the north side of Juan 
Fernandez, on the 16th, and anchored, within two cables lengths 
of the beach, in ten fathoms. 

I have seldom seen a more remarkable and picturesque view, 
than is presented by the approach to Juan Fernandez. When 
seen from a distance, the mountain of the ' Yungue' (Anvil), 
so called from its resemblance to a blacksmith's anvil, appears 
conspicuously placed in the midst of a range of precipitous 
mountains, and is alone an object of interest. It rises three 
thousand feet above a shore, which is formed by an abrupt 
wall of dark-coloured bare I'ock, eight or nine hundred feet in 
height, through whose wild ravines, broken by the mountain 
torrents, views are caught of verdant glades, surrounded by 
luxuriant woodland. 

The higher parts of the island are in general thickly- wooded; 
but in some places there are grassy plains of considerable extent, 
whose lively colour contrasts agreeably with the dark foliage 
of myrtle-trees, which abound on the island. 

The Yungue is wooded, nearly from the summit to its base ; 
whence an extensive and fertile valley extends to the shore, and 
is watered by two streams, which take their rise in the heights, 
and fall into the sea. 

This valley appears to have been formerly cleared and culti- 
vated by the Spaniards, who had a colony here ; for the stone 


walls, which served to divide their enclosures, still remain. 
From Walter's account of Anson's voyage, and the view given 
with it of the commodore's tent, there is no difficulty in deter- 
mining this valley to be the spot on which his encampment was 

The island is now (1830) occupied, or rather rented from 
the governor of Chile for a term of years, by Don Joachim 
Larrain. The establishment consists of a superintendent (mayor- 
domo), there called, ' the governor ;' and forty persons, who 
are employed in the seal and cod fishery, and in drying fish 
for the Chilian market. Their dwellings are erected on the flat 
land, at the north side of the bay, where the soil is richer than 
in other parts ; and where it is more sheltered from the squalls, 
which, during strong southerly gales, rush down the valley of 
the Yungue, the situation of the former establishment, with 
great violence. 

The remains of a fort, called San Juan Baptiste, are yet in 
a tolerable state ; and from an inscription on the wall, it appears 
to have been repaired, or completed, in the year 1809. It is 
situated on a rising ground, about one hundred and thirty 
feet above the sea, at the S.W. part of the bay, and over- 
looks the village ; there are now no guns mounted, but, with a 
few, it might be made very effective in a short time; and, from 
its situation, would command the bay. 

In the middle of the beach are some ruins of a four-ffun 
battery, and there are also traces of a fort at the N.W. end of 
the bay. 

At present, except wild-goats, wild peaches, figs, abundance 
of fish, and excellent fresh water, no refreshments can be pro- 
cured. An establishment of forty persons, with very little to 
do, might naturally be expected to cultivate the land, raise 
vegetables and fruit, and rear poultry and pigs, to supply the 
vessels, which frequently touch here for wood and water ; but 
it is not the character of the Chileno to take any trouble, unless 
obliged, although his own comfort and advantage may be 
materially concerned. 

The mayoi'-domo, however, told me that their attempts to 

SOi FISH — GOATS — DOGS. Feb. 1830. 

cultivate the soil, and raise potatoes, had been defeated by the 
destructive ravages of a worm. 

By sending a boat to the east point of the bay, to fish in forty 
fathoms water, a most delicious kind of cod-fish may be taken, 
in such numbers, that two men, in half an hour, could fill the 
boat. Craw-fish, of large size, are almost equally abundant ; 
they are taken with a hooked stick : one of our boats caught 
forty-five in a very short time. The inhabitants catch them, and 
cure their tails, by exposure to the sun, for exportation to 
Chile, where they are much esteemed, and fetch a high price. 

Wild-goats are very numerous among the inaccessible parts 
of the island, but are not easily obtained ; they are sometimes 
shot, or taken with a lazo. These animals, according to Woodes 
Rogers, and other writers, were originally left on the island by 
Juan Fernandez, who, for a short time, lived there. Accord- 
ing to the ' Noticias Secretas,' p. 50 to 56, they are supposed 
to have been landed by the Buccaneers, who frequented this 
island. Certain it is, that, without such refreshments, the Buc- 
caneers would not have been able to carry on their harassing war 
of plunder against the Spanish possessions on the American 
coast to such an extent ; nor should we, perhaps, have heard 
anything more about Commodore Anson, and the crews of the 
Centurion and Gloucester, who were, on their arrival at this 
island, in the last stage of scurvy. 

To prevent Juan Fernandez from being so tempting a resort 
to Buccaneers, the Viceroy of Pei'u caused a great many dogs 
to be landed, which hunted down and destroyed the goats in 
great numbers : this in some measure has prevented their 
subsequent increase. The dogs however drove the goats to 
places where they could not follow them, and were then obliged 
to destroy seals for food. Large troops of these dogs still range 
about the lower grounds; but the heights are in the undisturbed 
possession of wild-goats ; which may be seen in numbers brows- 
ing on elevated and almost inaccessible places, where they live 
in safety. 

The geological character of this island, according to Mr. 
Caldcleugh, who accompanied me in this trip, is of basaltic 

Feb 18S0. GEOLOGY — botany. 305 

green-stone, and trap, which appears, at first sight, to be vol- 
canic ; but, on a more particular examination, the lava-like 
appearance of the rock does not seem to arise from an igneous 

The green-stone is full of crystals of olivine, which, as they 
decompose, leave hollows, resembling those of scoriae. Mr. Cald- 
cleugh communicated an account of the structure to the Geo- 
logical Society.* In Captain HalFs interesting journal, there 
is a list of Geological and Mineralogical specimens, of which 
one from Mas-a-fuera-f- is named ' Vesicular Lava.' May it not 
be this same rock in a decomposed state .'' 

The late Signor Bertero, whose botanical collections from 
Chile have enriched many of the principal herbaria in Europe, 
accompanied me to make a collection of the Flora of the 
island ; and he considered that the character of the vegetation 
was very little allied to the Chilian, but partook more of that 
of California. The sandal-wood, which has been described as 
indigenous to this island, was not found by us, growing, but 
a large quantity was collected about the hills and vallies, in a 
dry state, and apparently very old. It is of the red kind, and 
still preserves a strong scent. The mayor-domo told me there 
were no sandal- wood trees in the island ; but we had reason 
to think his information was incorrect, for one of the inha- 
bitants would have taken us to a place where he said they were 
growing in large quantities, had not our arrangements for sail- 
ing interfered. 

The island produces several kinds of grass ; but the most 
abundant herbaceous plant is a species of oat, which grows 
very luxuriantly, and towards the westward covers the ground 
for many miles. The neighbourhood of Cumberland Bay is 
over-run with strawberry plants, wild radishes, mint, and 
balm, besides peach, apple, cherry, and fig trees, which are 

* Phil. Journal, and Annals of Philosophy, for March 1831 (new 
series x.), 220. 

t Juan Fernandez is called ' de Tierra,' because it is nearer the main- 
land than another adjacent island, which is called ' Mas-a-fuera ' (farther 
off, or more in the distance). 

VOL. I, X 


found wild every where, and remind one of Lord Anson's 

Not only in its botanical productions does this island differ 
from the Chilian coast, but also in its shells : the shell fish 
being extremely scarce, and dissimilar in character. On the 
rocks we found a patella and a small chama, but we saw no 
mytilus. From the deep water I fished up some coral, and 
attached to one fragment was a new species of arca.-j* The fish- 
ing-lines brought up, from the -depth of eighty fathoms, a 
branch of coralline, to which an infinite number of a species of 
caryophyllia were attached. The existence of coral is mentioned 
in Mr. Barry's translation of the ' Noticias Secretas de Ame- 
rica ; por Don J. Juan, y Don A. de Ulloa,' a work which con- 
tains a long and, generally speaking, good account of the 
island ; but their description of the anchorage does not agree 
with ours. They say, " The distance between the two points, 
which form the bay, is two miles, and its depth about half a 
league; and, although the depth is nearly the same in all parts, 
the best berth to moor ships is in the front of the ' Playa del 
Este ;' but it is necessary to be close to the stones of the beach, 
for at one or two cables' length there are fifty fathoms water, 
and the outer anchor is in the depth of seventy or eighty 
fathoms ; but if the vessel is three or four cables off, it will be 
necessary to drop the outer anchor in one hundred fathoms, 
which, even with two cables an end, will scarcely secure the ship." 
Now, at three cables' length from the beach, we had only 
ten fathoms, our outer anchor was dropped in seventeen fathoms, 
and in a line between the two points of the bay there is not 
more than fifty fathoms. 

If the accounts of those Spanish officers were correct, the 
earthquakes, which certainly affect these islands, must have 
caused a considerable uprising of the base of the island; but, on 
referring to the plan in Anson's voyage, the soundings in 1741 
do not appear to have been different from ours. The innermost 
ship, whose berth we occupied, is, in that plan, at anchor in 

, * A nson's Voyage, p. 118. 
T Area angulata. See Zool. .Tournal, vol. v. p. 3.3(). 

Feb. 1830. anson's voyage — seal — biuds. 307 

nineteen fathoms, and the depth between tlie points of the bay 
is shown to be about fifty fathoms. 

There are few persons who have not read, with much interest, 
Mr. Walter's account of the Centurion's voyage, and who are 
not well acquainted with his description of this island, which 
we found exceedingly correct. The views of the land, although 
old-fashioned in execution, are most correctly delineated, and 
the plan of the bay is quite sufficient for every common pur- 
pose of navigation ; but as -we had an opportunity of fixing its 
latitude and longitude more correctly, it became desirable to 
make a more detailed plan than Commodore Ansons. 

The seals and sea-lions, which were so abundant formerly, 
are now reduced to such a small number, as to make the seal- 
fishery scarcely worth notice. They have been destroyed by 
taking them indiscriminately, without regard to age or sex, 
leaving none to propagate the race but those who by chance 
escaped. At present the island is let to a tenant, who is not 
permitted to kill them until the young have taken to the water, 
by which means an opportunity is given for them to increase. 

I am not aware that there are any indigenous animals. Dogs, 
goats, and rats, have been imported. Land birds are not nume- 
rous ; some pigeons, said to have been imported, and a few 
hawks, are occasionally seen, besides three species of humming- 
birds, two of which are new to science.* Of sea-birds we saw 
very few ; but were informed that the ' Goat Islands,' at the 
south-west end of Juan Fernandez, are completely covered by 
them at the breeding: season. 

During our stay, several excursions were made, in various 
directions, from the village, and much facilitated by beaten 
paths, one of which leads up a valley, westward of that of the 

• Trochilus Fernandensis, nob. Troch : feruyineo-rufus ; capitis vertice 
splendento-coccineo ; remigibus fuscis. Long-. .5 uncias. 

Trochilus Stokesii,nob. Troch: corjwre supra viridi-splendente, snltits 
alho, viridi-guttato ; capite supra, giittisque confer li s gula lazulino-spjknden- 
tihus : remigibus fusco-atris ; remigum omnium, mediis exceptis, pogoniis 
internis itlbis. Long. 4^ uncias. Proceed. Zool. Society, vol. i. ; also 
Phil. Magazine, for March 1831, p. 227. 



Yungue, and thence to a pass over the principal range, com- 
municating with the other side of the island. This pass, called 
the Puertozuela, is 1,800 feet high, and was visited several 
times by the officers. On one occasion, they went to the wes- 
tern part of the island, to hunt wild goats. The party set 
out in boats with the mayor-domo, or governor, as their guide ; 
but before they reached the proper landing-place, became so 
impatient that they landed, intending to walk back. The gover- 
nor, however, persevered, and returned, in the evening, with 
five fine she-goats, which he had taken with ' lazos.' Our pedes- 
trians found their return by no means so easy as they had 
contemplated, being obliged to pass the night in a cave, which 
they fortunately found at sunset, and they did not reach the 
ship until the following afternoon, fatigued, but much pleased 
by their ramble. 

The thermometer on board ranged, during the day, between 
63° and 82°, and the barometer between 29-98, and 80 16. 
On shore the thermometer stood higher, in fine, unclouded wea- 
ther, and lower when the summits of the hills were covered 
with clouds. 

We put to sea on the 22d, anchored at Talcahuano on the 
8d of March, and sailed again on the 17th, to proceed through 
the Strait of Magalhaens. 

While at Concepcion I had an opportunity of seeing Pino- 
leo,* the Indian chief, from whom Captain Basil Hall endea- 
voured to obtain the release of a captured Araucanian female, 
whose husband had been murdered in cold blood before her 

Mr. Rouse, our consul, procured for me the necessary in- 
troduction, and, with one of the governor'^s aides-de-camp, 
accompanied us to the Indian quarters, situated on the out- 

• Pinoleo (from ' Pino,' pisando; and ' leo,' rio ; or, pisando sobre el 
rio, living- close to the banks of a river), is the Chief of a small tribe, 
whose territory is near the River Imperial ; but he generally lives in the 
confines of Concepcion. He has four wives in the interior (la tierra) 
and three in the town. 

t Hall's Extracts from a Journal, vol. i. pp.316. 322. 

March 1830. pinoleo — araucanian dress. 309 

skirts of the town, towards the river Bio-Bio. We found the 
chiefs residence (little better than a rancho, or hut of the 
country), surrounded by Indians, some of whom were armed ; 
and at the door Were his two datighters, young, and rather 
good-looking, whose persons and dress we had leisure to 
examine, whilst waiting the chiefs pleasure to receive us. They 
were clothed with a mantle, or wrapper, of green baize, enve- 
loping the body from the neck to the feet, and fastened at the 
breast by atoup, ortupu* (a silver pin, or skewer, headed with 
a round silver plate, three inches in diameter), over which hung 
a string of beads. Their hair, which was remarkably fine and 
clean, as well as neatly dressed, was divided into two plaited 
tails (' trensas'), and their foreheads were ornamented with a 
broad fillet, worked over with beads.^- They also wore neck- 
laces, bracelets, ear-rings, and anklets of similar manufacture. 

Our names having been announced to Pinoleo, he came to 
the door to receive us, and invited us to enter. Some of our 
party he recognized, and seemed pleased at their visiting him. 
We were early, and found him sober ; but from his bloated and 
haggard appearance, it seemed that he had not been long so. 
On entering the hut, we observed a number of Indians, scarcely 
sober, seated round, near the walls. Some turbid wine was 
presented to us, in a silver cup, which we sipped as it passed 
round ; but the last of our party knowing that to return the 
cup without emptying it, would be an offence, was obliged to 
drink the contents, and a bitter potion they were. Pinoleo was 
then stout and ratlier corpulent, five feet ten inches in height, 
of a fairer complexion than the generality of his countrymen, 
and had lost much of his hair. He had laid aside the Indian 

• In Febres'Arte de la lengua de Chile' they are thus described "Ahujas 
grandes con una plancha redonda de plata como una hostia, b mayor, con 
que preflden las mujeressus mantas — Certain large bodkins, with around 
silver plate, as large as, or larger than, an oyster, with which the women 
fasten their mantles." 

t The ornament on the forehead, which is worn only by unmarried 
women, is called Trare-lonco, from the old Chilian words trarin, to 
fasten, and tonco, the head. The bracelet is called Anello cure ; the 
anklets, Anelleo. 


dress, and wore the deshabille of a Spaniard, a shirt and pair 
of trowsers, in a very slovenly manner. He spoke Spanish with 
great facility, and appeared to be quite at his ease in conversa- 
tion. He has the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Chilian 
army, and receives pay, as a retainer for his friendship. 

A very short visit was sufficient to satisfy us, and we took 
the first opportunity of retiring, for fear of a second cup of 
wine. While leaving the hut, we were beset by some of his 
followers, asking for money. The Indian quarter is a scene of 
drunkenness the whole day ; the Avomen, however, are pre- 
vented from thus injuring themselves; they are industrious 
and cleanly, and are principally occupied in the manufacture 
of ponchos. These Indians are frequently at war with other 
tribes, who live on the south side of the Bio-Bio river, and who 
have never yet been conquered by white men, of which they 
are not a little proud, (w) 

These Araucanians are by no means to be despised. The 
Cacique Mariloan,* who resides near San Carlos, on the Bio-Bio, 
has three hundred fighting men under his own command ; and 
from the influence he holds over neighbouring Caciques, could 
bring upwards of one thousand men into the field. Upon the 
occasion of a late revolution in Chile, a deputation of chiefs 
was sent by the Araucanian Caciques to inquire into the cause 
of those disturbances, of which they had received intelligence. 
They first asked for an interpreter, whom they cautioned to 
give a true and literal translation of their speech ; and then 
they made a long harangue, in which they explained the cause 
of their visit, and declared their willingness to assist their 
friends, if their aid should be required, to expel a foreign foe ; 
but if the troubles were caused only by the quarrels and dissen- 
sions of parties, they would not take an active part. They 
were then given to understand that an attempt had been made 
by one party to put down another, upon which they declined 
assisting either. The conference being ended, some horses were 

rwj Not since the first Spanish conquest, perhaps. — R. F. 
• From ' Mari,' diez, and ' loan,' huapo : whence Mariloan means 
' huapo como diez,' or, ' equal to ten men.' 


slaughtered and skinned. Large holes were dvig, and the skins 
put into them, to form substitutes for vessels, into which 
barrels of wine were poured, and the Indians commenced their 
feast of horses' flesh and turbid wine, which threw them rapidly 
into a state of excitement and intoxication, that lasted some 
hours after the wine was all drunk. 

In this neighbourhood, the Araucanian pine (Armtcaria 
imhricatd) is found, but very few of the trees grow near the 
sea. One beautiful specimen which I saw in a garden was, at 
least, forty feet in height, with branches sweeping the ground. 
The cones of these trees, called pinones, are brought to the 
town from the mountains where they grow, and are roasted, to 
be sold in the streets. 

On the 31st of March, the land about Cape Lucia was seen, 
and at noon it bore E. b. N., distant twelve miles, when the 
wind ceased, and a heavy swell setting us towards the land, 
made our situation an anxious one. A breeze, however, sprung 
vip, and by carrying a press of sail, we succeeded in gaining 
an offing before dark. The night was very squally, but next 
morning (1st April) the weather was better, so we stood in, 
and made the Evangelists, which were seen from the mast- 
head, at a distance of twenty-two miles. Between these islands 
and Cape Pillar we found a most turbulent sea ; yet no sooner 
had we entered the Strait, than the water became perfectly 
smooth. I intended anchoring in the Harbour of Mercy ; but 
the night proved fine, and the wind was so favourable, that 
we proceeded by the chart, using a patent log, and passing 
within two miles of the headlands. Sail was reduced as 
much as possible, to give us space sufficient to run on during 
the night, steering E. f S. by compass. Towards midnight 
the weather became cloudy, and occasionally the land was 
concealed from our view. 

Abreast of Cape Tamar, and as far as Cape Providence, 
some sharp squalls raised a sea, rather heavy, considering we 
were in the Strait ; but afterwards the water became smooth 
again. Off the latter cape, the patent log indicated a distance 
run equal to that shown by the chart, which proved that we had 

312 PLAYA PARDA ABRA BOUJA. April 1830. 

experienced no current. At daylight we were in the entrance of 
the ' Long Reach,' abreast of Cape Monday. 

While passing the opening opposite to Playa Parda, a 
schooner was observed at anchor, and a boat was seen coming 
out to us. It contained the mate of the schooner Industry, of 
New Bedford, who informed us that she had been lying there, 
weather-bound, for nearly a month. He came to make inquiries 
about good anchorages to the westward (having already lost 
two anchors), and to learn in what part of the Strait he was ; 
his own idea being, that the vessel was under Cape Monday. 
Having given him the required information, we proceeded ; 
but the wind fell light, and we were glad to anchor in the 
cove of Playa Parda. With our chains we found it safe ; but 
the bottom, being rocky, would probably do much injury to 
hempen cables. 

The opening opposite to us, where the schooner was lying, 
was evidently Sarmiento's ' Abra.' It appeared to us to be a 
mile and a half wide, with an island in the entrance. Within, 
it seemed to take a south, then a south-west direction, and 
afterwards to trend round a low hummocky point of the eastern 
shore, under a high, precipitous ridge, on the opposite or wes- 
tern shox-e, towards the S.E. ; beyond this its course could 
not be observed. When passing through this part of the Strait, 
Captain Stokes found the weather so bad, that although the 
distance across was only two or three miles, the shores were 
often concealed by clouds and rain, so as to render it impossible 
for him to make any survey of them. 

We were detained the two following days by bad weather. 
On the 5th we proceeded, but before we got abreast of Snowy 
Sound, heavy rain set in, which lasted all day. 

As we passed Borja Bay, a schooner was observed at anchor 
in it, so like the Adelaide, that we altered our course to com- 
municate with her. From a boat which came off to us, we 
learned that it was a sealing-vessel, called the Hope, of New 
York, going through the Strait, from Staten Land. She had 
seen nothing of the Adelaide. 

When abreast of Bachelor River, a canoe, containing two 


men and two women, came out to us ; but we did not delay 
long, and at five the anchor was dropped in Fortescue Bay. 

As it did not appear that the Adelaide had preceded us, I 
determined upon remaining, to make a chronometric measure- 
ment from Port Gallant to Port Famine ; and the next morn- 
ing Lieutenant Graves landed, and obtained a set of sights for 

In the early part of the day, two canoes, containing eight 
or ten Fuegians, entered the bay. They came from the west- 
ward ; but we did not recognize among them any of those 
who visited the ship as we passed Bachelor's River. Several 
had red baize shirts, and some had ' Union caps,' such as are 
supplied to our men-of-war ; which they must have procured 
from the Beagle or Adelaide, or from the Chanticleer, at Cape 
Horn. ( A') After hanging about us all day, they landed at 
sunset, and took up their quarters in some old wigwams in the 
inner harbour. 

The canoes of these natives were very different in their con- 
struction from any we had seen to the eastward. Instead of 
being paddled, they were pulled Avith oars ; one of which was 
an ash oar, probably obtained from some sealing-vessel. The 
canoes were large ; at the bottom was a plank, twenty inches 
wide, to which were sewn the sides, in the manner of the pira- 
guas, and they were caulked with bark, in a similar way. 

We did not remark any thing peculiar among these people 
which we had not perceived in other natives of Tierra del 
Fuego, except that they frequently used the word ' pecheray,' a 
word particularly noticed by Bougainville, who thought that 
it meant the name of the tribe ; and, in consequence, the Fue- 
gians have been often called Pecherays. 

On one of the officers cutting a lock of hair from a woman's 
head, the men became angry, and one of them taking it away, 
threw half of it into the fire, and, rolling up the other portion 
between the palms of his hands, swallowed it. Immediately 

(X) I believe that the natives who have canoes of the kind described 
above, do not go near the Herinitc Islands, on wliich Cape Horn is 
situated.— R. F. 


afterwards, placing his hands to the fire, as if to warm them, 
and looking upwards, he uttered a few words, apparently of 
invocation : then, looking at us, pointed upwards, and ex- 
claimed, with a tone and gesture of explanation, ' Pecheray, 
Pecheray.'' After which, they cut off some hair from several 
of the officers who were present, and repeated a similar cere- 

From this fact, one might suppose the word to be connected 
with their ideas of divine worship ; but we had heard it used 
for so many opposite things, that I could not consider it of 
so much importance as some of the officers were inclined to 
think it. 

The next day a party ascended the Mountain de la Cruz, 
to deposit a pewter plate, on which were cut the names of the 
ship and officers. At the summit they found the pile of stones 
made by Captain Fitz Roy, which they left undisturbed ; but 
made another, in which a bottle was placed, containing the 
little Spanish coin, and copies, on vellum, of the memorials we 
had formerly taken from it, also several English coins, and 
some medals. The bottle was corked, covered with resin, and 
enveloped in sheet lead. Our party returned in the evening, 
having been seven hours in going up and descending. 

Tlie next day I obtained an angular measurement of the 
Mountain de la Cruz, with a theodolite, having measured 
a base of 2,608 feet, which gave for its elevation 2,364 feet, 
74 feet more than Captain Fitz Roy's barometrical determi- 

During the day several Fuegian families had arrived, and, 
by the evening, ten canoes, containing altogether about sixty 
natives, were collected. I landed to visit them, for I had never 
before seen so many assembled. We entered all the wigwams 
but one, which was said to be occupied by a woman in labour. 
In the opening stood her husband, painted all over with a red] 
ochrous earth, and his head and breast ornamented with the| 
white down of birds. The other Fuegians called him ' Peche- 
ray ;' and appeared to consider him, while in the character hej 
had assumed, as a being superior to themselves. 

April 1830. concourse of natives. 315 

Hence, there evidently is something of a superstitious nature 
connected with the word ; but our frequent attempts to find 
out its precise meaning, were unsuccessful. On repeating this 
expression to a group of natives, one of them immediately 
coughed up a piece of blubber, which he had been eating, and 
gave it to another, who swallowed it with much ceremony, and 
with a peculiar guttural noise ; then, looking up, and pointing 
with his finger to the skies, solemnly pronovmced the talismanic 
' Pecheray.' This word is also used in pointing to the sun. 

On the 10th April, I went to Charles Islands, and surveyed 
them. There is very good anchorage for a small vessel, in eigh- 
teen fathoms, at the north end of the passage which separates 
them ; and at the bottom, or elbow, under the eastern island, 
in thirteen or fourteen fathoms. The next day, a fresh arrival 
in two canoes increased the number of Indians to eighty; rather 
a formidable body for a small vessel to encounter. They con- 
ducted themselves, on the whole, very peaceably, but seemed 
determined that our curiosity should not be gratified by find- 
ing out the contents of the ' tabooed' wigwam. It was always 
guarded by the ' Pecheray,' who seemed ready and determined 
to dispute all access to it, by means of a heavy club. One of 
the midshipmen, however, with a little coaxing, persuaded the 
man to let him put his head in ; but those who were inside, 
having received their lesson, threw ashes in his face, and nearly 
bHnded him. After this, seeing they were determined on the 
point, I desired that no further attempt should be made to 
ascertain what was really going on inside the wigwam. 

We sailed the next day (11th), not without some apprehension 
that the Adelaide might meet this large concourse of Indians 
before they separated ; as Port Gallant was a place rarely passed 
by vessels without stopping, and the natives being all housed 
behind a point of land, could not be seen until too late. 

We were abreast of Cape Froward at noon ; in the evening 
we anchored in French Bay, and next day (13th) reached Port 
Famine. As I purposed remaining until the Adelaide should 
arrive, the tents were set up, the boats landed for repair, and 
the transit instrument was set up, in the hope that a comet 


might be visible, which we had seen in our passage from Con- 
cepcion to the Strait ; but the weather was at first too cloudy, 
and afterwards the comet itself was too faint to be discerned.* 

On the 21st, nine canoes arrived in the bay, containing a 
large party of Fuegians, principally those who frequent the 
Magdalen Channel, and probably the sea-coast. They had 
generally shown themselves disposed to be mischievous, and I 
determined upon preventing their encamping near us ; for 
their presence would greatly impede our watering and wood- 
ing parties, by distracting the attention of the people. I, there- 
fore, went to meet them at the watering-place, under Point 
St. Anna, where they had landed, near one of our boats which 
was on the beach. Among them we only recognised three who 
had visited us before, and those three were brought to our 
remembrance by their former ndsconduct. I had always made 
it a rule to treat them kindly, with the view of obtaining their 
good-will ; but I foiuid it was the wrong way to gain their 
respect, for it only made them expect more from me, the con- 
sequence of which was, that when we separated, neither party 
was pleased with the other. I used on this occasion a more dic- 
tatorial tone than I had hitherto done ; for, seeing several with 
slings in their hands, and a collection of large, round pebbles 
wrapped up in the corner of their mantles, I desired them to 
throw the stones away, which they did not hesitate to do. The 
Indians were now all landed, and evidently presuming upon 
their numerical strength, upwards of eighty being assembled, 
began to make themselves very familiar. 

I thought it best to check their advances, by desiring them 
not to visit the side of the bay where our tents stood, but to 
go round Point St. Anna, to an adjoining cove. They seemed 
to understand me perfectly, and soon afterwards embarked, 
while I returned on board. The natives, however, landed again, 
in the middle of the bay, at the north side, and there encamped. 

Next morning, the men of the tribe visited our tents, but 
found them surrounded by a rope I had caused to be fixed, 

* The same comet was seen at the Mauritius; and its orbit calculated. 
See Ast. See. Proceedings, and Phil. Journal. 

April 1830. quarrel with thf. ijatives. 317 

and which they were not permitted to pass. At noon, after 
observing the sun's transit, I went to the barrier, and while 
the people were at dinner, endeavoured to amuse our visitors, 
who were from fifteen to twenty in number, by showing them 
several trifles ; among the rest, a pocket set of coloured glasses, 
belonging to the transit. They looked through them at the 
sun, but handled them rather roughly, and broke the frame ; 
upon which I expressed my anger, and turned them awav. 
Soon afterwards, however, I walked towards them, and select- 
ing the Indian who had offended me, gave him a bunch of 
beads, and thus restored peace ; but desired them, at the same 
time, to go to their wigwams, which they did. In their way, 
they mischievously broke down a part of my meridian mark ; 
seeing which, I sent a carpenter, attended by a marine, to repair 
it, and went myself to inspect its being again set up. The 
natives were collected round it, evidently in expectation of my 
being angry, and awaited my approach. Upon my coming near, 
I showed them that I was much displeased, and ordered them 
into their canoes ; when one of the party, muttering a few 
words, picked up a stone from the ground, and was fixing it 
in his sling, when I took the marine's musket, and presented it 
at him, upon which the whole took to their heels ; the principal 
offender and another ran along the beach, and the rest to their 
canoes. I could not resist the opportunity of letting them know 
we were prepared for them, by firing over the heads of the two 
who were running near the water. 

The report of the musket attracted the attention of Lieutenant 
Mitchell, who was on board on the look-out, expecting some 
fracas would, sooner or later, take place ; and seeing four or five 
canoes paddling across, and the two Indians running along the 
beach, he manned a boat, and pulled towards the canoes, which 
tried to evade him, and stones were thrown at him as he ap- 
proached. A musket fired over their heads, soon quieted them, 
when he pulled round their canoes, to show them they were 
in his power, but did not molest them, and then allowed the 
party to proceed. 

This affair alarmed the women at the wigwams, and hastily 


gathering up their effects, they hurried into their canoes, and 
joined the others, who all paddled round Point St. Anna. The 
men, however, landed there, and remained on shore, armed 
with slings, spears, and bows, ready to defend themselves, 
and, by their gestures, defying us to land. No attention was 
paid to them, and, after a short time, they went over the hills 
to the coves on the north side of the point. As we had now 
openly quarrelled, I thought it better that they should keep 
at a distance ; and therefore, taking two boats, pulled round 
the point, to tell them to go five miles farther, to Rocky Bay ; 
but the canoes were already beached, and the women had taken 
up their quarters. As we approached, the hills echoed with the 
screams of the women and the shouts of the men ; all of whom, 
stark naked, armed, and daubed Avith white paint, their heads 
being stuck full of white feathers, hastened down to the point 
of the bay. The' place, from its nature, offered a good defence, 
as the beach was lined by large rocks, behind which they could 
conceal themselves from our view, and yet assail us with stones. 
When within a few yards of the beach, we held a parley — the 
object of which was, that they sliould go farther to the north- 
ward ; to this they vociferously replied, by desiring us to leave 
them. Seeing there was no chance of enforcing our demand, 
without shedding blood, I ordered the boats away ; and on get- 
ting about a musket-shot from the beach, one of the Fuegians 
threw a stone, which fell close to us. In an instant, every one 
of them was concealed behind the rocks ; but we returned their 
fire, and another large stone fell within two feet of the boat. 
A second musket was fired, and another stone was returned, with 
equal precision. After the interchange of a few more stones for 
bullets, they ceased throwing them, and we returned on board. 
It was very unlikely that any of our shot took effect ; for we 
were at a long distance, and could only see their heads above the 
rocks. Fortunately, none of the stones struck us, for they were 
large enough to have caused a severe bruise. It is astonishins: 

how very correctly they throw them, and to what a distance. 
When the first stone fell close to us, we all thought ourselves 
out of musket-shot. 


The next morning, five or six natives were seen crouching 
down among high grass, on the hill over our watering-well, 
waiting for the people to go for water ; probably with the inten- 
tion of assailing them, for it appeared afterwards that their 
slings and bows were in readiness. To show them they were 
not out of our reach, I caused a six-pound shot to be fired 
over their heads, Avhich, as it went high above them, made no 
impression. The gun was then pointed lower, and another 
ineffectual shot fired. A third, however, fell close to them, 
when they jumped up, shook their mantles in the air, with 
the most violent gestures, and, apparently in a furious rage, 
scampered off; but the last man, before he disappeared, 
threw an immense stone, which did not reach one quarter of the 

We saw nothing more of the natives until the evening, when 
Lieutenant Mitchell, who went to look for them, found they 
had moved away to Rocky Bay, where they had encamped 
on the open beach. The next day, I sent him to endeavour to 
make peace, which he very easily effected, by the interchange 
of a few trifles. 

After this we had much bad weather, during which most of 
the Indians kept close to their wigwams; but a few occasionally 
communicated with our watering party, quite peaceably, as if 
nothing had happened. A day or two after, the weather im- 
proved, and the Fuegians dispersed, probably for want of food, 
some going to the northward, but the greater part along shore 
to the southward. These people pointed upwards to the sky, 
when they were going away, repeating the word ' Pecheray.' 

This was our last interview with the wretched Fuegians. 
Naturally petulant and quari-elsome, they are also ever intent 
upon mischief ; the fear of punishment alone restraining them. 
Weakly-manned vessels passing through this Strait should 
always avoid them, if they are numerous ; for unless they are 
given what they want, they try to steal it, and any consequent 
punishment probably brings on a quarrel. Their conduct, and 
servile bearing, at our first seeing them, gave them an ap- 
pearance of being timid and inactive ; while, in reality, they 

320 sLiXGs — FIRING — CUNNING. April 1830. 

are the very reverse. Had we attempted to land on the last 
occasion, I do not think we should have effected our object, 
without receiving some severe contusions from their stones, 
which they sling with such extraordinary precision and force : 
so much so, that I consider the sling, in their dexterous hands, 
to be equal to a musket in ours. Indeed, with many of us, a 
native would have had the advantage. It has been too much 
the practice, when obliged to fire upon them, to fire over their 
heads ; by which proceeding the savages are led to consider 
our weapons as so uncertain in their effect, that they become 
much depreciated in their estimation. It would be almost pre- 
ferable to inflict a slight wound, in order to siiow the nature of 
our arms, and as a warning against further hostilities. 

When the Uxbridge, sealer, was at anchor in a harbour in 
the Magdalen Channel, some Indians, who were on board, 
angry at being ordered out of the vessel at sunset, threw stones 
at the person who was walking the deck, as they returned to 
the shore. Several muskets were fired over their heads, at 
which they expressed neither fear nor concern ; but paddled 
leisurely away, and the next morning came off again to the 
vessel, as if nothing had happened. At Port Famine, Duclos 
Guyot had a skirmish with natives, the particulars of which 
are described in Dom Pernetty's History (ii. 653). Three of 
the Indians were killed, and tliree of the French were severely 
wounded. It may be here remarked, that the chiefs name, 
according to M. Duclos Guyot, was ' Pach-a-chui,' which is 
not unlike ' Pecheray ;' the women were called ' Cap, cap,' 
probably a mistake for ' Cab, cab ;' which evidently means 
' no, no !' for it was an expression we frequently used, and 
was never misunderstood. Their cunning is sufficiently proved 
by the theft of the Adelaide's boat, in St. Simon's Sound 
(page 142). 

The absence of the Fuegians permitted us to move about a 
little ; and among other places, we visited their late encamp- 
ment at Rocky Bay, our approach to which was offensively 
indicated by a most sickening smell. On our way, I found two 
fossils ; one was very interesting, bearing the appearance of a 

May 1830. fossils — Adelaide arrives — sail. 321 

large; orthoceratite : * the other was a Venus. From Rocky 
Point we descried a strange sail, which, by her movements, we 
thought must be the Beagle : I returned, therefore, and sent 
Lieutenant Mitchell out to her. She arrived in the evening, but 
proved to be a ship belonging to the Hudson Bay Company, 
called the Dryad, bound to the Columbia River, and last from 
the Falkland Islands. She came to wait for Mr. Low, of the 
Adeona, wlio had promised to pilot her through the Magdalen 
Channel. The Adeona arrived on the 3d of May ; and the 
following day, to our great joy, the Adelaide hove in sight : 
and being becalmed, was towed to an anchorage. 

The result of her cruise proved to be very interesting, 
although no communication had been discovered between the 
' Ancon sin Salida," and the Skyring Water. The only loss they 
had sustained was, however, a severe one; Mr. Alexander Millar 
having died of inflammation in the bowels. The death of this 
promising young man threw a damp over the happiness we felt 
at meeting again, after having so nearly completed this long 
and tedious voyage. 

We had, for some days, been getting ready for sea, and nqw 
hastened to complete our preparations. The Dryad, after re- 
ceiving some assistance from us, sailed in company with the 
Adeona, and passed out to the Pacific, by going through the 
Magdalen Channel. The day afterwards we took our final de- 
parture — crossed the shoal that extends off Magdalena Island, 
in five fathoms, sailed on rapidly, and passed Gregory Bay 
at noon. Seeing us approach, a large party of Patagonians, at 
least a hundred in number, assembled at the usual place of 
communication ; but as both wind and tide were in our favour, 
and we could derive no novel information from them, we con- 
tinued on our course. The Indians were probably much morti- 
fied and disappointed ; but all on board were delighted by 
avoiding the anticipated delay. We showed our colours to them, 
but I dare say our friend, Maria, was not very well pleased 
with my want of courtesy, in passing by so old an acquaintance 

* They are deposited in the Museum of the Geological Societj'. 
VOL. I. Y 


without a salutation ; or, what she coveted much more, such 
presents as she had always received when we anchored. 

Just before entering the First Narrow, we passed through a 
furious ' tide-race,' which broke over the Adelaide, and not a 
little impeded her progress. No accident, however, was the 
consequence ; and a rapid tide, running at the least nine 
knots an hour, swept us through the Narrow, and round the 
reef off Cape Orange : after which we proceeded rapidly, and 
rounded Cape Virgins at ten p.m., not a little elated by leaving 
behind us, with no expectation of ever seeing it again, tlie 
famous Strait of Magalliaens. 

Our voyage to Monte Video was rather long ; but we delayed 
there only to water the ship, in the usual place, off Cape Jesu 
Maria, and then proceeded to Rio de Janeiro, where we 
awaited tlie arrival of the Beagle. Our anxiety for her safety, 
during so hazardous a survey as that of the sea-coasts of Tierra 
del Fuego, was soon removed, by hearing that she had touched 
at Monte Video ; and, on the 2d of August, our consort was 
seen entering the harbour ; when we were delighted by find- 
ing all well on board, and the little vessel quite ready for sea, 
having refitted on her passage. 


Adelaide's last cruise — Port Otway — San Quintin — Marine Islands — 
Unknown river or passage — San Tadeo — Isthmus of Ofqui — San 
Rafael — Suiferings and route of the Wager's party — Channel's Mouth 
— Byron — Cheap — Elliott — Hamilton — Campbell — Indian Cacique — 
Passage of the Desecho — Osorio — Xavier Island — Jesuit Sound — 
Kirke's report — Night tides— Guaianeco Islands — Site of the Wager's 
wreck — Bulkeley and Cummings — Speedwell Bay — Indigenous wild 
potato — Mesier Channel — Fatal Bay — Death of Mr. Millar — Fallos 
Channel — Lieutenant Skyring's illness — English Narrow — Fish — 

Wigwams— Indians — Level Bay Brazo Ancho — Eyre Sound — Seal 

— Icebergs — Walker Bay — Nature of the country — Habits of the 
natives — Scarcity of population. 

I WILL now relate the principal incidents of the Adelaide's 
last cruise. The following pages contain extracts from Lieu- 
tenant Skyring's journal, and also notices obtained from other 

The Adelaide sailedfrom Chiloe on the 8th of December 1829, 
made Cape Tres Montes on the 14th, and anchored in Port 
Otway the same evening. Of this place Lieutenant Skyring 
writes : " Good anchorage, wood, water, and shell-fish (such 
as muscles and clams). Port Otway affords : but no more. 
Excepting in one or two sandy bights, a landing is hardly to 
be effected ; walking along shore is impossible, and it is scarcely 
practicable to enter the country, the land being so thickly 
wooded, from the summits of the hills down to the water-side. 
No soil is to be discovered ; the shrubs, and even the trees, which 
are of large growth, rise out of moss, or decomposed vegetable 
substances. The climate is very wet ; none but amphibious 
animals were seen, among which hair-seals were numerous. 
There were very few birds, excepting turkey buzzards ; and 
not a trace of human beings ; indeed, I do not believe Indians 
ever go there — (y) they rarely leave thedirect channels; as a proof 

fi/J For evidence that Indians have been thereabouts, see BjTon's 
account of the cave entered by the surgeon of the Wager. I believe 
that curious place was either in, or close to. Port Otway. — R. F. 


of which, some articles left by the Beagle, in a conspicuous 
place, were found by us untouched."''' During the Adelaide's 
stay at Port Otway, the openings on the east side of Hoppner 
Sound were explored, yet they proved to be only small inlets. 
Mr. Kirke examined some, which appeared to commvniicate 
with San Quintin Sound ; but found them to be merely chan- 
nels dividing the group of the Marine Islands,* excepting the 
most southern, which is the entrance of Newman Inlet, a deep 
bight, without anchorage, but abounding with hair-seal. 

From Byron's Narrative it would appear, that there is a 
channel somewhere hereabouts communicating with the Gulf 
of San Rafael, to the east of the Peninsula of Tres Montes ; 
for the Indian guide wanted to conduct the Wager's bai-ge 
through it, but was prevented by the strength of the current. 

The Adelaide sailed from Port Otway on the 18th, and the 
same evening reached San Quintin Sound, anchoring opposite 
an opening northward of Dead-tree Island, that proved to be 
the mouth of the River San Tadeo, by which Byron and his 
unfortunate companions effected their escape to Chiloe. 

The sufferings of this party, which are so affectingly described 
in Byron's nai-rative of the loss of the Wager, made so deep an 
impression on our minds, that I thought it not irrelevant to the 
object of this voyage to endeavour to trace their steps. Among 
the numerous incidents that occurred to them, the passage 
of the ' Desecho,' or carrying-place over the Isthmus of Ofqui, 
is, from all the circumstances connected with it, one of the most 
interesting. It may be remembered, that, upon the departure 
of Captain Cheap, and his shipwrecked crew, from the place of 
the wreck (Byron's Narrative, p. 69), they proceeded round the 
shores of the Gulf of Pefias, with an intention of tracing the 
Coast of Chiloe. They first attempted to steer for Cape Tres 
Montes, which headland they had seen, in one of the intervals 
of fair weather, from the summit of Mount Misery, and which 
appeared to be twenty or thirty leagues distant. The wind, 

• The Marine Islands were so called, in remembrance of the four 
marines who were put on shore from the Wager's boats, and left behind. 
See Byron's Nar., p. 85. 

1741. channel's mouth BYHON. 325 

however, freshened to a gale, and they were obliged to run 
before it, and throw all their provisions overboard to lighten 
the boat. 

At night they took refuge in a small opening, which led to 
a secure harbour, and next day advanced a little farther, till 
they reached some small islands, where they were detained three 
or four days by bad M'eather. 

After leavmg that place, they found an opening, into which 
they rowed, flattering themselves it would prove to be a pas- 
sage; but, being disappointed, they were obliged to return. 
This was probably the inlet, called ' Channel's Mouth.' 
Xavier Island was the next place they went to, named by 
them Montrose Island. Byron describes this island so ex- 
actly, that there cannot be the least doubt of its identity. " The 
next morning," he says, " being calm, we rowed out ; but 
as soon as clear of the island, we found a great swell from the 
westward : we rowed to the bottom of a very large bay, which 
was to northward of us, the land very low, and we were in 
hopes of finding some inlet through, but did not ; so kept along 
shore to the westward. This part, which I take to be fifty 
leagues from Wager Island, is the very bottom of the large 
bay it lies in. Here was the only passage to be found, which 
(if we could by any means have got information of it) would 
have saved us much fruitless labour. Of this passage I shall 
have occasion to say more hereafter." — Byron's Nar. p. 74. This 
is evidently San Quintin Sound. They proceeded to the west- 
ward and northward, entered a larger bay (Holloway Sound), 
and discovered another headland at a great distance to the 
westward (Cape Tres Montes), which they reached with much 
difficulty ; but being unable to get round it, and losing the 
boat that accompanied them, besides being obliged to leave four 
of the marines behind, they became quite disheartened, and 
returned to Wager Island, to linger out their miserable lives, 
without the least prospect of again seeing home. This 
expedition occupied two months, during which they lived 
principally upon sea-weed, called ' tangle ;' but sometimes 
passed whole days without eating anything at all. While thev 


were absent, some Indians had visited the wreck ; and, about a 
fortnight after their return, they arrived a second time, in two 
canoes. Among them was an Indian Cacique of the Chonos 
tribe, who live in the neighbourhood of Chilc5e. It was supposed 
that a report of the wreck had reached that place ; and that 
this Cacique, and another Indian, had come to derive some 
advantage from it. As the Cacique spoke Spanish, the surgeon, 
Mr. Elliot, made himself so far understood, as to let him know 
that they wished to reach some of the Spanish settlements ; and 
eventually bargained to give him the barge, and every thing in 
it, if he would conduct them to Chiloe. The party consisted of 
Captain Cheap ; Mr. Elliot, the surgeon ; Mr. Campbell, Mr. 
Hamilton, and Mr. Byron, midshipmen ; and eight men, be- 
sides the two Indians ; in all fifteen. The first night they 
slept on an island, and the next laid upon their oars, to the 
westward of Montrose Island, not being able to land. 

They then pulled, " to the bottom of a great bay, where the 
Indian guide had left his family, a wife and two children." 
There they staid two or three days ; after which, taking on 
board the family, they proceeded to a river, " the stream of 
which," Byron says, " was so rapid, that after our utmost 
efforts, from morning to evening, we gained little upon the 
current ; and, at last, were obliged to desist from our attempts, 
and return." 

This was probably a river, or channel, to the westward of San 
Quintin Sound, which eluded our search ; and, if so, it must 
communicate with channels north-eastward of the Peninsula 
of Tres Montes. The Indians, anxious to get the barge to the 
Chonos, had no other way to effect their purpose ; for the usual 
route was over the ' Desecho ;"" to pass which, it was necessary 
to take a boat or canoe to pieces, and carry her, piecemeal, 
over a high mountain. 

After losing the barge, they crossed the Peninsula of Fore- 
lius, by hauling canoes over a narrow neck of land, and reached 
the water of San Quintin Sound ; where they met another 
native family, with whom they proceeded to the River San 
Tadeo, " up which they rowed four or five leagues ; and then 


took to a branch of it that ran first to the eastward, and then 
to the northward." There they landed, took the canoes to pieces, 
and carried them over the isthmus ; then putting them toge- 
ther again, re-embarked, and proceeded through the Chonos 
Archipelago to Chiloe. 

When at Chiloe, I saw an old man, Pedro Osorio, who had 
been in two of the last missionary voyages (in 1769 and 1778), 
to the Guaineco Islands ; where the Wager was wrecked. He 
related to me the particulars of these voyages, and gave me an 
account of the ' Desecho,' over whicli the missionaries trans- 
ported their piraguas. He also remembered Byron and his 
companions ; and described them by the following names : — 
Don David (Captain David Cheap) : Don Juan (John Byron) ; 
Hamerton (Hamilton) ; and Plasta. The name Plasta is not 
once mentioned in Byron's Narrative ; but on referring to 
Bulkeley's and Cumming's account, one Plastow is described as 
the captain's servant ; and perhaps he was one of the number 
who remained with Captain Cheap.(;?) Pedro Osorio must have 
been upwards of ninety years of age, in ]829.(o) A detailed 
account of these voyages is given in Aglieros's Historical Descrip- 
tion of the province of Chiloe, p. 205. 

Captain Stokes's ' Dead-tree Island,' in the entrance of San 
Estevan Gulf, is near the 'Cirujano Island ' (Surgeon Island) of 
those voyages. Pedro Osorio told me that it was so called, 
because the surgeon of the Wager died there. From Byron's 
Narrative it would appear, that tlie surgeon died, and was 
buried, just before they embarked to cross the sound. — See 
Byron, p. 147. 

As the examination of the River San Tadeo, and the dis- 
covery of the ' Desecho,' formed a part of Lieutenant Skyring's 
instructions, he proceeded up it, in a whale-boat, accompanied 
by Mr. Kirke, The entrance of the river is blocked up by a 
bar of sand and stones, which, at low spring-tide, must be 
nearly dry ; and a heavy swell breaks upon its whole length, 
joining the surf of the beach, on each side ; so that there is 

(zj Could ' Plasta' refer to Alexander Campbell ?— R. F, 
fa) Pedro Osorio died at San Carlos in 1832.— R. F. 


no deep channel ; and, except in very fine weather, an attempt 
to cross is hazardous. 

At its mouth, the breadth is about a quarter of a mile, 
but "within the entrance it increases for a short distance: at 
three miles up, it is three hundred yards, and thence gra- 
dually diminishes. The shores are a mixture of clay and sand; 
and the country, on both sides, is low and marshy, abound- 
ing with brant-geese, ducks, teal, and snipe. 

The land, near the mouth of the river, is studded with dead 
trees (a species of pine, about twenty feet high), which appear 
to have been killed by the sea overflowing the banks; (6) as it 
does at high-water for several miles. 

Three miles from the entrance this river divides into two 
branches, one leading N.W., and the other eastward. Con- 
sidering the latter, from Byron's description, to be the proper 
course, Lieutenant Skyring followed it. At nine miles from 
the mouth, a stream was found falling into the river from the 
north, in every respect differing from the principal stream ; the 
water being fresh, dark, and clear, and the current constantly 
running down, uninfluenced by the tide ; while the water of 
the river was brackish and turbid, and affected by the ebbing 
and flowing of the tide, although, at that distance, its effect 
was much diminished. 

The shores of the Black River, as this new stream was called, 
are thickly wooded, which is not the case with the principal 
stream. They had entered it about a hundred yards before they 
discovered that they had left the main river ; but being desirous 
of proceeding, they followed its windings, the next day, for 
three leagues ; during the greater part of which distance, they 
found a strong current against them, and were also much im- 
peded by fallen trees lying in the bed of the river. In many 
parts they dragged their boat along by the help of overhanging 
branches, or projecting roots ; and the width, generally, was 
not more than fifty yards. As no piragua could pass there. 
Lieutenant Skyring felt assured that he was not in the right 
stream ; therefore, returning to the main river, he proceeded 
(bj Or by an earthquake wave. — R. F 

Dec. 1829. xavier island — jesuit sound. 329 

up it during the next two days. At two miles above the junc- 
tion, the tide ceased to be felt; and a rapid current met them, 
which increased in strength until they were unable to stem it ; 
and as they were prevented from tracking the boats, by trees 
growing on the banks, they could ascend no farther. 

This place was not more than eleven miles from the sea ; 
although, from the tortuous course of the stream, they had 
gone double that distance, and were about two miles from the 
foot of a mountain, whence the river descends. The mountain 
was very high, and the vallies, or ravines, were filled with glaciers. 
From Byron's description, it seems probable that Lieutenant 
Skyring was near the carrying place ; but as further delay 
could answer no good end, he very prudently returned, looking 
carefully about, as he proceeded, for some signs of a landing- 
place, but without success. He re-crossed the bar, reached 
the Adelaide without accident, and the next day went on in her 
to Xavier Island. On the way they passed Dead-tree Island ; 
where, observing seal on the rocks, a boat was sent ashore, and 
her crew succeeded in killing a few sea-elephants, twenty feet 

Favoured with fine weather, they were enabled to land on 
the north side of Xavier Island, to improve the former survey ; 
and in the evening anchored in Xavier Bav, where they 
remained four days ; during which, Jesuit Sound was explored, 
and found to terminate in two narrow inlets. Being a leewardly 
opening, it is unfit for any vessel to enter. 

The name Jesuit Sound, and those of the two inlets at the 
bottom, Benito and Julian, are memorials of the missionaries, 
who, in the expedition of 1778, entered and explored it.* 
(Agiieros, p. 232.) 

The Adelaide anchored the next night in Ygnacio Bay, at 
the south end of Xavier Island, which Lieutenant Skyring 

• Mr. Kirke, who examined them, says, " There are two openings 
opposite Xavier Island, on the main land : the northernmost runs through 
liigh land, and is terminated by a low sandy beach, with a river in the 
middle, running from a large glacier ; the southern inlet is ended by 
high mountainous land." 

330 channel''s mouth — kieke's heport. Jan. 1830. 

recommends for small vessels ; the depth of water being six or 
eight fathoms, and the anchorage well sheltered from the wind. 
On the 31st they anchored under the Hazard Islands, in the 
Channel's Mouth : " preparatory," writes Lieutenant Skyring, 
" to commencing new work with the new year ; for since enter- 
ing the gulf, except while examining the San Tadeo, we 
had followed the Beagle's track, and only completed what she 
left unfinished ; but from this place all would be new. This 
was the last wild anchorage she had taken ; and although now 
fixed in the best situation, and in the height of summer, we 
found our position almost as dangerous as hers. 

" Early on the 1st of January 1830, Mr. Kirke went in a 
whale-boat to examine the openings, at the mouth of which we 
had anchored : he returned on the 9th, having traced to the 
end, all which had the least appearance of being channels. The 
two largest, the south and the east, penetrated into the Cor- 
dillera for thirty miles. All these inlets are narrow but deep 
arms of the sea, running between ranges of very steep hills ; 
their sides affording not the least shelter, even for a boat, and 
apparently deserted; for neither seal, nor birds of any kind 
were seen, nor were there even muscles on the rocks."" 

Mr. Kirke, in his report, says : " The three northernmost of 
the inlets of the ChannePs Mouth end with high land on each 
side, and low sandy beaches at the head, beyond which there 
rises a ridge of high mountains, about two miles from the 
beach. The S.E. inlets end in rivers rushing down from the 
mountains, and a rocky shore : not the smallest shelter could 
I find, even for the boat. Two days and nights I was forced 
to keep her hauled up on a rock, just above high-water mark, 
in a strong gale, while the williwaws were so violent, that we 
were all obliged to add our weight to that of the boat, to pre- 
vent her from being blown off: and twice Ave were washed out 
of our resting-places, on the beach, by the night tide rising 
about fifteen or sixteen inches above that of the day." 

This opening in the coast is noticed by the pilot Machado 
(x\giieros, p. 210) ; but by whom the name of Channel's Mouth 
was given, does not appear. It is by no means descriptive of 

Jan. 1830. guaianeco islaxds — mesier channel. 331 

what it has been proved to be ; but as Lieutenant Skyring 
thought that a change in the name would not answer any good 
purpose, he very properly left it unaltered. 

The day after Mr. Kirke returned, very bad weather set in, 
and detained the Adelaide nine days, during which nothing 
could be done, out of the vessel. 

" January lOth," Lieutenant Skyring writes, " with mode- 
rate weather, and an easterly wind, we left the Channel's Mouth, 
and, standing for the Guaianeco Islands, passed those of Ayau- 
tau (between which and the mainland are several rocky reefs, 
though the passage seems to be sufficiently clear for any vessel) ; 
and skirting Tarn Bay, we distinguished the Mesier Channel, 
and could see many leagues down it. The entrance of the 
Mesier Channel is very remarkable, from having two high and 
singvdar peaks on the islands at its mouth : the northernmost 
very much resembling (although higher than) Nelson's monu- 
ment, near the Strait ; and the other, more to the southward, 
and much higher, resembling a church with a cupola, instead 
of a spire. Both are easily made out from the westward, at 
a distance of twenty or thirty miles. 

" We reached the Guaianeco Islands in the afternoon. The 
two largest are divided by a narrow passage, on the west side 
of which we anchored, in ten fathoms, in a spacious and secm-e 
haven, which proved to be Speedwell Bay of Bulkeley and 
Cummings ; the boats were employed next day, and, while the 
examination of the coast was pursued, I sought to ascertain the 
exact spot of the wreck of the Wager, but never could discover 
it : not a fragment of that ill-fated vessel was seen in any of our 
excursions. A few pieces of the boat lost by the Beagle last 
year were picked up ; but nothing more that could tend to 
denote the misfortunes which have occurred near these islands. 

" From the description of the Wager's wreck, in Bulkeley 
and Cummings, there seems to be little doubt of the place being 
at the N.W. end of the eastern Guaianeco Island, near my 
Bundle's Passage, which is the place so often mentioned in 
their account as the ' Lagoon.' 


" Being well supplied with powder and small shot, the people 
provided themselves plentifully, during our stay at Speedwell 
Bay, with a variety of wild-fowl, namely, geese, ducks, red- 
beaks, shags, and the ibis ; curlew, snipe, plover, and moorhens, 
were also met with, and fish were observed in shoals near the 
vessel, but, as we had no seine, they escaped. With hooks and 
lines our fishermen had no luck ; the baits were no sooner at 
the bottom, than they were taken away, and for a day or 
two the cause of their loss was unknown ; but being acci- 
dentally ascertained, small trap-nets were made, and great 
numbers of crabs were taken, about a pound each in weight. 

" In almost every bay we noticed the potato, growing among 
\vild celery, close above high-water mark : but in so unfavour- 
able a situation, choked by other vegetables, its produce was 
V^ery small. 

" The trees are not of large growth in these islands, neither 
is the land thickly wooded ; but above the beach, and almost 
i-ound the coast, there is a breast- work of jungle and under- 
wood, from fifty to one hundred yards broad, and nearly im- 
penetrable ; beyond which is a great extent of clear, but low 
and swampy ground. 

" On the 25th, we left this port, and ran to the S.E., through 
what I have named Rundle's Passage. This small channel, 
where the islands approach each other, is about a quarter of a 
mile wide, perfectly clear in the whole extent, and also at its 
southern entrance ; but at the northern there are many detached 
rocks, which are obstacles to entering Speedwell Bay, except 
in daylight. Rounding the islets, at the S.E. extreme of 
Byron Islands, we anchored in Muscle Bay, which lies on 
the northern side : by no means a secure place, — but the 
only one that could be found, by the boats, after many hours' 
search. I selected this situation in order that the entrance to 
the Fallos Channel, and the whole outline of these islands, 
might be laid down, and properly connected with the land of 
Port Barbara ; which was thoroughly executed by Mr. Kirke 
and Mr. Millar, although delayed in the completion of their 

Feb. 1830. fatal bay — mr. Millar's death. 333 

work until the 1st of February, (c) On that day we sailed, and 
entered the Mesier Channel, anchoring in a small open bay, 
the only stopping-place we could perceive; which, from the 
loss we sustained shortly after our arrival, was called Fatal 
Bay. It is insecure, and the anchorage ground confined : the 
only convenience was, that wood and fresh-water were 
near. During our stay we had much rain, which retarded us. 
Mr. Kirke went away in a boat, whenever the weather per- 
mitted, and, on the 8th, we sailed for an anchorage, about ten 
miles to the southward, where he had previously been ; but a 
sad event happened before our departure. 

" On the afternoon of the 3d, we had the misfortune to lose 
Mr. Alexander Millar, who died in consequence of a severe 
attack of inflammation of the bowels, which carried him off, 
after an illness of only three days. 

" On Thursday afternoon he was buried, close to the shore, 
near the anchorage, and just within the edge of the wood. 

" That our progress had been so slow during the last month, 
was a great disappointment ; but Ave had had many causes of 
detention. All the early part of January the weather was 
stormy: eighteen days we were anchored within the Channel's 
Mouth ; yet during two only could our boats leave the vessel. 
" Among the Guaianeco islands we had moderate vveather, 
but also much wet : still the chief cause of our delay, I fear, was 
my own illness. From the beginning of January, I had been 
confined to my bed, with a tedious and obstinate disease ; and 
from that time most of the angles were taken, and all the 
observations were made, by Mr. Kirke, who was ever exceedingly 
willing and indefatigable. After the loss of Mr. Millar, not 
only almost the whole duty of surveying fell upon him, but 
much of the duty of the vessel. 

" At noon this day (8th), we moored in Island Harbour, a 
small but excellent landlocked anchorage, with good holding 

Cc) During much of this cruise, Lieutenant Skyring was so ill that he 
was unable to leave the Adelaide ; and for a month he was confined to bed. 
His illness was caused by fatigue, and by sitting too long M'hile con- 
structing charts. — R. F. 


ground, and abundance of wood and water. The two following- 
days, Mr, Kirke was away examining the coast ; the tliird we 
were confined by bad weather ; and, indeed, during our whole 
continuance at this place, we had very much rain. 

" We sailed early on the 12th from Island Harbour, and 
by night reached Waterfall Bay, an anchorage about fifteen 
miles to the southward : the wind all day was light, and the 
tide, the greater part of the time, against us ; so that, with 
every exertion, we scarcely gained anchoring ground before it 
was quite dark : the strength of the tide was upwards of a mile 
an hour, at neap-tides : the ebb and flood were of equal duration, 
the former running to the S. b. E., the latter N. b.W. Thirty 
miles within the Mesier Channel it is as wide as at the entrance, 
and for several miles to the southward appears clear: so that 
no one is liable thus far to mistake its course. 

" The land on the west side appears to be a number of large 
islands, with here and there wide passages leading to the S. W., 
rendering it probable that there are many (although not direct) 
communications between the Mesier and the Fallos Channels. 
Our anchorages were chiefly on the eastern shore, that the 
openings on that side might be more readily examined ; but all 
which appeared to run far inland were found to be merely 
narrow inlets, or sounds ending abruptly. On each side the 
land is hilly, but not high ; and this distinguishes the Mesier 
Channel from many others, whose shores for miles are formed 
by ranges of steep-sided mountains. Here, in many places, 
there is much low land, which is generally tliickly wooded, yet 
with no greater variety of trees than is to met with in the Strait 
of Magalhaeiis. The beech, birch, pine, or cypress, Winter's- 
bark, and a kind of red-wood, form the forests ; but none 
were observed that could be at all serviceable for the larger 
spars of a vessel. 

" (16th). Left Waterfall Bay, and with aN.W. breeze passed 
Middle Island, entered Lion Bay, and moored in White Kelp 
Cove. The coast survey was soon finished, but we were con- 
fined at our anchors here four days ; not by bad, but by ex- 
traordinarily fine weather. During such intervals, so very rare 

Feb. 1830. halt bay — English narrow. 335 

in these regions, the wind, if there is any, is ahnost always 
southerly, and light. 

" At every anchorage we had found Indian wigwams, but 
as yet had not met with any natives. Here we took a great 
number of fish ; and, among them, one like the ling, found on 
the east coast of Patagonia, off" Cape Fairweather, but of 
smaller size, for the largest did not weigh more than two pounds. 
Very few water-fowl were seen ; steamers and shags were the 
only ones shot; but in the woods we noticed king-fishers, wood- 
peckers, barking-birds, parroquets, and humming-birds. 

" (21st.) With a light nortlierly wind we left this cove, 
and about ten miles to the southward the appearance of the 
channel changed greatly. Instead of sailing through uncon- 
nected land, of moderate height, we were confined between two 
mountainous ridges.* At noon we were obliged to anchor in 
Halt Bay, no opening appearing to the right or left, and being 
apparently embayed. On the west side, the high land was 
skirted by several low islands, among which our only way 
of proceeding seemed to lie. This day and the next Mr. 
Kirke was away, seeking a passage ; and having found one, 
and noticed the tides, we sailed through on the 23d, and gave 
it the name of the English Narrow. It is long and intri- 
cate, chiefly formed by islands ; and in three places, where the 
shores approach each other, the distance across is less than four 
hundred yards, yet with a fair wind and slack tide, there is no 
hazard in passing. In the afternoon, we moored in ten or 
twelve fathoms in Level Bay, a spacious anchorage near the 
southern entrance of the Narrow ; the bottom mud and sand, 
and the depth of water equal throughout. Mr. Kirke, who 
was among the islands opposite this bay, saw numerous shoals 

* On the west shore Mr. Kirke noticed what appeared to be a channel, 
about twelve miles N. W. of Halt Bay, in the mouth of which was a con- 
siderable tide-ripple ; an almost cei^tain indication of such an opening'. 
" I thought the inlet about twelve miles north-west of Halt Bay much 
like a channel. I also noticed a distinct tide ripple, which I did not 
remark near any other opening. To me this appeared the southernmost 
inlet, of any depth ; or at all likely to be a channel." — Kirke MS. 


of fish in many of the bights ; with a seine, therefore, an 
abundant supply might be obtained. 

" The woodland eastward of our anchorage had very recently 
been on fire, and the conflagration must have been extensive, 
and very destructive ; for throughout a space of ten or twelve 
miles along shore, all the trees had been consumed, the dead 
trunks of the larger ones alone remaining. We left Level Bay 
on the morning of the 25th, and passed a canoe full of In- 
dians ; but they pulled to the shore, and ran into the woods; 
therefore, since they avoided us, and we had a fair wind, I 
did not seek their acquaintance. We had noticed traces of them 
in the neighbourhood of the Narrow, on each side of which 
many wigwams, that had been recently occupied, were seen. 

" For the next ten or twelve miles we went through a fine 
reach, whose shores were low, and whose channel was interspersed 
with several islands, affording probably excellent anchorages ; 
but to the southward the hills became more steep, and, except 
in the ravines, were destitute of vegetation. At four or five 
leagues to the E.S.E., beyond the English Narrow, an opening, 
apparently a channel, presented itself, and the reach in which 
we were sailing seemed to end. Doubtful which course to fol- 
low, we anchored the vessel in Rocky Bight, and despatched 
the boats to examine both passages. That to the E.S.E. 
was found to run direct nearly ten miles, and to communicate 
with a fine clear channel, trending to the S.S.W., which proved 
afterwardstobe the Wide Channel (Brazo Ancho) of Sarmiento. 
At the junction, a considerable arm extended to the N.N.E., 
apparently a continuation of the Wide Channel. 

" On Mr. Kirke's return from examining the passage in 
which we were sailing, I learnt that the same width continued 
about five miles southward of our present anchorage, and that 
there the shores approached closely, forming the intricate 
passage called Rowlett Narrow ; which, after a S.E. course of 
many miles, also joins Wide Channel. The island formed by 
the two channels was named Saumarez Island, in honour of the 
gallant admiral. 

" It rained hard and blew strongly, the whole day, which 

Feb. 1830. eyre sound — seal — ice-bergs. 337 

prevented our moving ; but on the 27th we shifted our ancho- 
rage to Fury Cove, in Wide Channel. 

" Mr. Kirke, on the 28th, examined an opening to the north- 
ward, called Sir George Eyre Sound, which terminates in a 
wide fresh- water river, running through low land from a large 
glacier. The low grounds extend two or three miles from it, 
and then the land becomes high. Behind the glacier there is 
a ridge of high mountains, covered with snow, which we had 
seen twice before ; first, from near White Kelp Cove, and again 
from Halt Bay. In the sound, we saw three whales, and 
being the first we had observed, since leaving the Gulf of 
Penas, they inclined us to think we were near the Gulf of 
Trinidad. A great number of fur seal, besides two of their 
rookeries, or breeding-places, were also seen. Several icebergs 
were floating out of the sound, some of which were dark- 
coloured ; and upon one I found a quantity of rock that had 
come down with it from the mountains. There was serpentine 
and granite, specimens of which were collected, and given to 
Captain King. One of the bergs, which was large, was aground. 
It was nearly seven fathoms above the water, and bottom could 
not be found by sounding round it with twenty-one fathoms of 

" Fury Cove is diminutive ; there is not more than sufficient 
space for two small vessels; but the ground is good, and in 
every other respect it is a secure haven. We sailed on the 3d 
of March with the expectation of soon recognizing some known 
points in the Gulf of Trinidad ; but as the wind failed, we were 
obliged to anchor for the night in Sandy Bay, in eight fathoms. 

" As we proceeded to the southwai-d, the appearance of the 
country gradually changed : the mountains seemed more bar- 
ren, the trees and shrubs more stunted, the land rose more 
suddenly, and the shores of the channel became bolder, and 
presented an uniform rocky line of coast. 

" (4th.) We again steered southward, and at noon an 
opening appearing on the east side, which ran several miles 
inland, I sought an adjacent anchorage, in order that it might 
be explored. Our boats were examining the shore all day, and 

VOL. I. 1 

338 OPEN BAY — coNCEPCioN STRAIT. March 1830- 

sounding in the coves, but no fit spot was found ; therefore 
we were forced to stop in an ill-sheltered nook, termed Small 
Craft Bight, which just served us (having fair weather) as a 
resting-place until morning (5th), when we set out again to 
find a better anchorage ; for I still desired to ascertain whether 
the opening to the eastward was a sound or a channel. In our 
course to the southward we traced both shores in search of a 
stopping- place ; but there was neither bight nor cove where it 
was possible to anchor, until we arrived at Open Bay, which 
lies near the entrance of Wide Channel. Even this was such a 
very insecure place, that although I remained the next day, to 
examine the neighbouring coast, it was far too exposed an 
anchorage for the vessel to continue in while the boats were 
away at a distance. 

" Disappointed by not finding a place for the schooner near 
the opening I wished to explore, I was yet averse to leaving it 
unexamined, having traced every inlet to its extremity for 
upwards of two hundred miles along the continent. I wished 
to continue so sure a mode of proceeding ; and although I felt 
certain that this opening terminated like the rest, and Mr. 
Kirke held the same opinion, I would gladly have prevented 
any doubt by following its course in the boats, could we have 
gained a safe anchorage for the vessel. The nearest harbour 
that could be found was thirty miles from the opening, and 
it would have detained us too long to send the boats such a 
distance ; so considering that we had yet a great extent of 
coast to examine ; that my state of health did not permit me 
to undertake any very exposed or arduous service ; and that 
Mr. Kirke was the only person to whom such duty could be 
entrusted, I was induced to relinquish our former practice of 
exploring every opening to its end. 

" We left Open Bay on the 7th, and soon entered Concep- 
cion Strait, keeping along the east shore, and sending a boat, 
at every opening, to seek a situation for the vessel. In the 
afternoon, a tolerably sheltered bay was fouiid, at the south 
end of the North Canning Island, open only from S.E. to 
S.W. ; but those winds being frequent and violent, and the 

March 1830. san andrfs ok sahmiento. 33^ 

bay exposed to a long reach of sea from that quarter, it cannot 
be accounted a safe harbour ; yet it was very far preferable to 
many places in which we had been obliged to anchor. 

" This bay (Portland Bay) is on the north side of an open- 
ing called by Sarmiento ' Canal de Tres Cerros,' and from the 
broken state of the interior high land, one is led to imagine a 
channel might be found there. His conclusion, I have no doubt, 
was drawn from this appearance, since the view down the open- 
ing is very limited, and, at the distance of three or four miles 
within the entrance, is interrupted by several small islands. 
Mr. Kirke passed between those islets, and followed an opening 
to the S.E., for upwards of eight leagues. On his return, he 
reported that he had found a fine channel, of which the principal 
entrance was the opening of Sarmiento's ' Canal San Andres.' 

" On the 12th, in full anticipation of making some inte- 
resting discovery, we sailed into the ' Canal San Andres,' 
anchoring in the afternoon in Expectation Bay, where we 
remained until the 15th. During that time, Mr. Kirke was 
employed examining the different openings, and tracing this 
supposed channel farther. At his return, he said that he had 
found a termination to every opening, even to that in which 
we then were, which he had previously thought to be a channel. 
Like the rest, it extended only to the base of the snowy Cor- 
dillera, and then was suddenly closed by immense glaciers. 

" This information caused great disappointment, as all hope 
of passing through the Cordillera, thus far northward, was 
now given up ; and I was fearful we should be delayed many 
more days before we could extricate ourselves from this (as we 
then supposed) false channel. We were many ntiiles within 
the entrance ; in that distance there were no anchorages, and 
the wind being generally from the westward, I anticipated much 
labour before we could effect our return ; but the very next 
day we were so fortunate as to have a slant of fair wind, by 
which we cleared this opening, and a second time entered Con- 
cepcion Strait. Knowing, by our former survey, that there 
was no anchorage along the coast to the southward of Cape 
San Andres before reaching Guard Bay, I ran over to Madi'e 

z 2 

340 WALKER BAY — GUI A NARROW. March 1830. 

de Dios, and brought up in Walker Bay. Fortunate we were, 
too; for before midnight the weather became so stormy as to 
oblige us to strike the topmasts and yard, let go a second anchor, 
and veer a long scope of cable. At few places in these chan- 
nels where we had anchored, could we have veered even half a 
cable. We remained the following day, and on the 21st, the 
weather being moderate, ran for the Guia Narrow, and having 
a favourable tide, passed through easily. 

"It was my wish to have anchored among the islands to the 
southward of Cape Charles, since that would have been the 
most convenient place for the Adelaide, while examining the 
opening beyond Cape San Antonio ; but hauling round the 
headland into a bay formed by those islands, no soundings 
could be gained ; and not perceiving any bight at all likely to 
afford shelter, I continued my course for Puerto Bueno, where 
Sarmiento thoiiglit there was good anchorage. In the evening, 
with the assistance of the boats, we moored in Schooner Cove, 
Puerto Bueno, and the next day, Mr. Kirke went to examine 
the opening north of San Antonio. 

" While we remained, a plan was made of this port, which 
lies live miles S.E. from Cape Charles and three and a-half from 
Bonduca Island. The shore is steep, and without any inden- 
ture. To the southward is Lear Bay, a mile in extent, affording 
anchorage, but not to be chosen when such an excellent haven as 
Puerto Bueno is near. The south extreme of this bay forms the 
north point of Pvjerto Bueno, and a few hundred yards south 
of that point is Rosamond Island, which is low and pointed ; 
four hundred yards S.S.E. of this, is a small round islet, bold 
to on every side ; and between this islet and a low point, a 
quarter of a mile to the S.E., is the widest channel to the ancho- 
rage. Sarmiento, indeed, most appropriately named it Puerto 
Bueno. It has both an inner and an outer port, the depth of 
water throughout is from nine to six fathoms, and any position 
in either I consider safe; but excepting that it affords better 
shelter, it differs in no respect from other anchorages in these 
regions. Wood and water are generally found in abundance 
near them all ; fish may be caught ; geese, ducks, shags, and 

March 1830. nature of the couxtry — san lucas. 341 

steamers may be shot ; and shell-fish gathered. The country, 
also, has the same appearance, and is of a similar nature ; for 
if you force a passage through the Avoods, it is over fallen trees 
and moss; if you walk over clear flat ground, the place is 
found to be a swamp ; and if you ascend the hills, it is by 
climbing over rocks, partially covered with spongy moss. 

" Mr. Kirke returned on the 24th, having found that the 
opening beyond San Antonio led to the N.E., and at ten miles 
from the cape communicated with that called the Canal San 

" At daylight Ave left Schooner Cove, and in passing down 
Sarmiento Channel I tried, though unsuccessfully, to reconcile 
some of his remarks with our own observations. South of San 
Marco and San Lucas there are two extensive bays, which 
we afterAvards found communicated with an opening between 
San Mateo and San Vicente, separating the greater part of the 
eastern shore of this channel from the main land. 

" I wished to anchor near Cape San Lucas, but around 
that opening no place could be distinguished likely to afford 
shelter, the shore in every part being bold, steep, and rocky. 
A like uniformity of coast presented itself as far as Cape San 
Mateo ; but on the Avest side, along both Esperanza and Van- 
couver Island, lie many bays that are well adapted for vessels. 
Sailing, however, under Cape San Lucas, we stood for San 
Mateo, and succeeded in anchoring in a small port, formed by 
Weasel Island, scarcely large enough, but perfectly safe, 
Avhen once Ave were secured. From this place the boats were 
despatched. An opening east of our present station was to be 
traced, and this part of Sarmiento Channel, with the entrance 
between San Mateo and San Vicente, was to be laid down. 
These operations, which in moderately fair weather would not 
have occupied three days, were not completed before the 31st, 
from our being delayed by violent winds, and almost continual 
rain. We had also had exceedingly bad weather during our 
stay in Puerto Bueno, and those employed in the boats had 
undergone very severe fatigue, and had suffered much from 
wet and cold. A short distance within the entrance of the 


ojiening, between Cape San Mateo and San Vincent, it turns 
suddenly to the south and S.b.E., continues in that direction 
for nearly thirty miles, washing the base of the Cordillera which 
rises from it precipitously, and is closed by a low isthmus, two 
miles across, dividing this inlet from Stewart Bay, and over 
which Mr. Kirke passed to take the bearings of several points 
that he recognised in Collinewood Strait. 

" In the prosecution of the survey northward of our anchor- 
age, those passages were discovered which separate so much 
of the east coast of Sarmiento Channel from the main land ; 
and the islands thus made known I named after Commodore 
Sir Edward Owen,* the channel of separation being called 
Blanche Passage. 

"One of the boats met with a canoe containing eight Indians; 
this was only the second that had yet been seen during our 

" An interview, which two of the schooner's men had with 
these people, is so characteristic of the habits of the natives 
who wander in canoes, that I add the account, as given by one 
of those men ; ' lA^hen we arrived at the wigwam, there were 
two women and five children inside, and a dozen dogs near it. 
At our entrance, the children crept close to one side of the wig- 
wam, behind their mothers, who made signs for us to sit down 
on the opposite side, which we did. The women, seeing diat 
we were wet, and meant to do them no harm, sent the two 
eldest children out to gather sticks, and made up a large fire ; 
so we cut some pieces of bread from a loaf which we had, 
and distributed them. They all appeared to like the bread, 
particularly the youngest, which was sucking at the breast ; 
for it eat its own slice, besides one we gave its mother. After 
we had been there about half an hour, and had given them 
some beads and buttons, a man came in from behind the wig- 
wam, where he had concealed himself when we entered, and sat 
down beside us. By signs, he asked where our boat was, and 
how many men there were with us. We told him the men and 
boat were a little way off, and made signs that we wanted to 
* At the request of Lieutenant iMitcIiell, of the Adventure. 

March 1830. habits of the natives. 343 

stay all niglit with him. We then gave him some bread, whicli 
he smelt, and afterwards eat. He offered us some sea-elephant 
blubber, about two inches and a-half thick ; we took it, and 
making signs it was not eood, flung; it on the fire. As soon as 
it began to melt, he took it from the fire, put one part in his 
mouth, and holding the other drew it back again, squeezing 
out the oil with his teeth, which were nearly shut. He put the 
same piece on the fire again, and, after an addition to it, too 
off'ensive to mention, again sucked it. Several more pieces were 
served the same way, and the women and children partook of 
them. They drank large draughts of water as soon as they Imd 
done eating. As it grew dark at about eight oVlock, the man 
began to talk to the women about our * sherroo' or boat, and 
oiu- men, who he thou^it were near. They seemed to be 
alanned, for the women shortly after left the wigwam, and did 
not return. They were quite naked. The man took the 
youngest child in his arms, squatted down with the rest, and 
snaking signs that he was going to sleep, stretched himself 
by the fire, the children lying between him and the side of the 
wigwam. Soon afterwards another man came in, who seemed 
to be about twenty-two years of age, younger by ten years than 
the first we saw. He had a piece of platted grass round his 
head, in the form of a band. After talking some time with his 
companion, he talked and laughed with us, ate some bread, and 
would have eaten all we had, if we had not kept it from him. 
He ate about two pounds of blubber, broiling and squeezing 
it, as the other had done, and drank three or four pints of 
water. We had only one case knife, which he was very fond of 
borrowing now and then, to cut the blubber, pretending that 
the muscle shells, which he broke for the purpose, were not 
sharp enough. He examined all our clothes, felt our limbs 
and breasts, and would have taken our clothes off*, if we had 
let him. He wanted a knife, and was continually feeling about 
us for one, as we did not let him know that we had only on€. 
He opened a rush basket, and took out several trifles, such as 
^re-stone,* feathers, spear-heads, a sailor's old mitten, pail of 

• Iron pyrites. 


a Guernsey-frock, and other things, some of which he offered 
for the knife. 

" ' About midnight it rained very hard, and the inside of the 
wigwam became soaked with wet ; so they all roused up, and 
made a large fire ; then ate some blubber, and drank some 
more water. They always carried a firebrand with them when 
they went out in the dark to get water, or for any thing else 
they might want. When they had well warmed themselves they 
lay down again. The young man lay close to us, and, when 
he supposed we were asleep, began to search the man who had 
the knife, but we kept watch and he could not get it. About 
two hours afterwards he made up the fire, and went out, as we 
thought, for firewood : but for no other purpose than to take 
away bushes from the side of the wigwam, that he might have 
a clear passage for what he intended to do. Returning, he took 
up a piece of blubber, and asked for the knife to cut it. As 
soon as he had cut a slice, and put it on the fire, he darted 
through the part of the wigwam, which he had weakened, 
like an arrow. The other man seemed to be very much vexed, 
and thinking, perhaps, that we should do some mischief in 
consequence of tlie loss of the knife, watched an opportunity, 
when he thought we were asleep, to take out all the children, 
and leave us quite by ourselves. About two hours after, he 
returned, and pulling down dry branches, from the inside of 
the wigwam, made up a large fire. We had no doubt that the 
younger man was at hand watching us, and just at daybreak, 
as we were preparing to start, he jumped into the wigwam with 
his face streaked almost all over with black, and pretended to 
be quite a stranger. When we asked for the knife, he would 
not know what we meant, but took up one of our shoes that 
lay on the ground, and gave it to us. The band of grass was 
taken off his head, and his hair was quite loose. There were 
neither skins, spears, nor arrows in the wigwam, but no doubt 
they were in the bushes ; for when we threatened to take the 
canoe he jumped into the wood, resting on one knee, with his 
right hand on the ground, and eyed us sharply till we were 
out of sight.' 

March 1830. scarcity of inhabitants. 345 

" The other family seen in the Mesier Channel we did not 
communicate with, and it may be remarked that in this passage, 
although between four and five hundred miles in extent, we 
did not meet twenty human beings ; a strong evidence that 
these regions are very thinly inhabited, pai'ticularly when it is 
considered that we made no rapid progress, and that our boats 
traversed, through different channels, at least twice the distance 
run by the vessel." 


Sarmiento Channel — Ancon sin Salida — Cape Earnest — Canal of the 
Mountains — Termination of the Andes — Kirke Narrow — Easter Bay 
— Disappointment Bay — Obstruction Sound — Last Hope Inlet — 
Swans — Coots — Deer — River — Lagoon — Singular eddies — Passage of 
the Narrow — Arrival at Port Famine — Zoological remarks. 

" (April 1st). This morning the weather was very unset- 
tled, squally, and thick : but as no delay could be admitted, 
when there was a possibility of moving, we left at eight o''clock, 
and followed the course of Sarmiento Channel. I have no doubt 
that a passage exists eastward of Point San Gaspar, leading to 
CoUingwood Strait, and forming an island between that point 
and Cape San Bartolome : but with the N.W. wmd and bad 
weather we then had, that bight was too leewardly for us to 
venture into. 

" The knowledge of an opening there could be of no great 
importance, yet had I been able to find an anchorage near Cape 
San Bartolome I would gladly have profited by it, in order 
to assure myself of the existence of a passage. In hauling 
round, the appearance of the land favoured my impression ; 
but our chief object being to seek a channel through the high 
mountains, I stood toward Stewart Bay, the most southern part 
examined by the boats. Finding I could not anchor there with- 
out entering the bight and risking delay, which I was unwilling 
to do, as I wished to reach Whale-boat Bay as soon as pos- 
sible, we proceeded and anchored in the evening in Shingle 
Roads, ready for moving the next morning. Having, last year, 
passed along the whole line of coast, from Cape Earnest to this 
place, there seemed to me no necessity for a closer examination, 
for I knew there was no opening within that distance, and 
I could very little improve what was then laid down on the 


chart. The weather was very unpromising, and at daylight 
the next morning it blew hard from the N. W., but we weiglied 
and ran to the southward. AVhen in the ' Ancon sin Salida' of 
Sarmiento the wind suddenly shifted to the S.E., and was so 
strong that we were quite unable to beat between Cape Earnest 
and the northern island of the ' Ancon,' but passing round, 
found anchorage near the east end in a small bay : however, 
as the wind had moderated, and the Canal of the Moun- 
tains was open to us, on the east side of which there appeared 
to be several secure bays, Ave kept under sail, and in the 
evening anchored in Leeward Bay, which we at first thought 
would afford excellent shelter, but on reaching it found we had 
erred exceedingly. There was no time to look for another, so 
we moored, and prepared for bad weather, which, as usual, 
was soon experienced ; and we were kept two days without a 
possibility of moving, or doing any thing to make our situation 
more secure. We had heavy squalls during the whole time ; 
the wind being generally west or W.N.W., but at times nearly 
S.W., when more swell was thrown into the bay. 

" On the oth we got clear of this bad and leewardly 
anchorage, the wind being more to the N.W. ; but we had still 
such very squally weather, with rain, that it was a work of 
several hours to beat to Whale-boat Bay, where we moored in 
the evening, and prepared for examining the coast with our 
boats, both to the east and west. Before leaving Leeward Bay, 
a round of angles was taken from high ground north of the 
anchorage, and it was satisfactory to reflect that the ' Ancon 
sin Salida' was traced far more correctly than could be done 
in our former visit. There was constant rain and squally wea- 
ther all the morning, and only in the latter part of the day 
could any work be performed in the boats. On the following 
morning Mr. Kirke went to trace the Canal of the Mountains, 
and I rejoice to say that I Avas again able to assist in the boat 
service, and went to examine some openings. After leaving 
Kirke Narrow on the right hand a wide sound appeared, about 
nine miles in length ; and having traversed it, we turned to 
the east, through a narrow intricate channel (White Narrow), 


obstructed by several small islets, and passed suddenly out 
into a clear, open bay. Our prospect here became wholly differ- 
ent to that which for months before we had daily witnessed. 
North and south of us were deep bays, while to the east, between 
two points seven or eight miles apart, our view was unob- 
structed by land, and we were sanguine in hoping that we had 
discovered an extensive body of water. There was also a con- 
siderable change in the appearance of the country, which no 
less delighted than astonished us ; for so gratifying a prospect 
had not been seen since leaving Chiloe. Eastward, as I said 
before, we could perceive no land ; to the north-east and 
south-eastward lay a low flat country, and the hills in the 
interior were long, level ranges, similar to that near Cape 
Gregory, while behind us, in every direction westward, rose 
high rugged mountains. I fully believed that our course here- 
after would be in open water, along the shores of a low coun- 
try, and that we had taken leave of narrow straits, enclosed by 
snow-capped mountains : the only difficulty to be now over- 
come was, I imagined, that of getting the vessel safely through 
the Kirke Narrow ; which, hazardous as I thought the pass, 
was preferable to the intricate White Narrow, through which 
we had just passed. Such were my expectations ; and with 
so noble a prospect in view, I hastened to look for anchor- 
age for the schooner, which I succeeded in finding at a place 
named by me Easter Bay, and returned on board the next day 
through Kirke Narrow. Mr. Kirke employed three days about 
his work, having traced the inlet, which trended northward 
from Cape Grey for nearly eleven leagues. He found that it 
was bordered on each side by a steep range of mountains, 
broken here and there by deep ravines, which were filled with 
frozen snow, and surmounted by extensive glaciers, whence 
huge avalanches were continually falling. The western side of 
this canal is formed by the southern termination of the Andes. 
At the northern end are two bays, with sandy beaches, backed 
by low land, which, however, rises gradually to high peaked 
mountains, (Hstant about two miles. 

" Early on Easter Tuesday we left Whale-boat Bay, and 

April 1830. kirke narrow — faster bay. 349 

proceeded towards the Kirke Narrow. We had been unvary- 
ing in watching and trying the strength of the tides during our 
stay ; but the observations never accorded with those in the 
narrow, and our calculations this morning, after all the trouble 
we had taken, were found to be erroneous. On approaching the 
place we met a stream of tide setting to the S-W. between two 
and three knots; the wind was light; we sometimes gained 
ground — at others were forced back by the strength of the 
tide — and thus kept hovering near the entrance until eleven 
o'clock ; when the tide slackened, and we neared the eastern 
end, which is by far the narrowest part, and where, I appre- 
hended, every exertion would be required to clear the rocks; 
but fortunately it was at the moment of slack water — we passed 
through easily, and our anticipated difficulty vanished. This 
eastern entrance is narrowed by two islands, which contract the 
Avidth, at one part, to a hundred and fifty yards. When clear 
of this passage. Point Return, Point Desire, and Easter Bay 
were in sieht, and we found ourselves in a channel much wider 
than those to which we had been lately accustomed. To the 
south was a deep sound, apparently branching in different 
directions between high land, but our principal object was the 
low country to the N.E., and through this we were so sanguine 
as to make sure of finding a passage. In the evening we anchored 
in Easter Bay, and moored the schooner in four and six 
fathoms, over a muddy bottom. 

" Next morning (12th) the boats were prepared for going 
away to gain a better knowledge of the country around, to find 
out the best anchorage, and to become acquainted with some of 
the many advantages that, from the prospect before us, we 
considered ourselves sure of experiencing. Mr. Kirke went to 
examine Worsley Sound, and he was desired to examine every 
opening as he proceeded eastward. As soon as he was gone, I 
set about measuring a base between Easter Bay and Focus 
Island ; which, being of moderate height, appeared to be a 
favourable position for extending the triangulation. This work 
was soon finished ; but I was greatly disappointed, when on 
the summit of the island, with the view that presented itself 

850 DISAPPOINTMENT BAT. April! 830. 

to the eastward. The low points, before mentioned, beyond 
which, from Easter Bay, we could distinguish no land, and 
between which we expected to make good our course to the 
S.E., appeared to be coimected by a low flat country. An ex- 
tensive sheet of water was indeed observed to the eastward, yet 
I coidd only, from its appearance, conclude that it was a spa- 
cious bay. 

" My attention was next drawn to the southward, in which 
direction, to the east of Woolley Peninsula, appeared a wide 
and deep opening, and this I determined to explore on the 
morrow ; for it was now the only course likely to lead us to 
Fitz Roy Passage, where it became every day more indispen- 
sable that we should arrive, since our provisions were getting 
short. At my return on board, I learnt from Mr. Kirke that 
he had examined the greater part of Worsley Sound, whose 
eastern shore formed a line of coast almost connected with that 
of the bight before us, to which the name of Disappointment 
Bay was given. 

" It was arranged that he should proceed from his last point, 
and carefully trace the shore of Disappointment Bay to the 
eastern headland of the southern opening, down which it was 
my intention to proceed. With these objects in view, we left 
the schooner next morning. A fair wind soon brought me to 
the entrance, where I landed to take bearings on the west side, 
and arrived at the promontory of ' Hope' by noon. There I 
ascended to the summit of the hills, but found them so thickly 
wooded, that my anticipated view of the land was almost inter- 
cepted, and the angles taken were in consequence very limited. 

" At this promontory the course of the channel trends 
slightly to the eastward ; and its direction is afterwards to the 
S.S.E., being open and clear for eight or ten miles, when low 
land stretching across from the west side intercepts the view. 
In passing to the southward, I landed frequently to continue 
the angles, and hauled up, at the close of day, in Kara Avis 
Bay, still doubtful of the nature of the opening. 

" Next morning, passing Point Intervene, we pulled into an 
extensive reach ; and having landed, to take bearings, on the 

April 1830. obstruction sound. 351 

east side, near Cape Thomas, I proceeded, in hopes that beyond 
the next point some better prospect would be gained : on 
arriving there, however, my expectations were instantly checked 
by a bold rising shore, continuing uninterruptedly as far as the 
Oliver Islands, which we passed soon afterwards. 

" The width of the channel between the Oliver Islands and 
the northern shore is not more than a mile, but it afterwards 
increases, and turns sharply first to the west, and then S.S.W. 
In the west reach there are many small islands, and the high 
ranges on both sides being detached from each other, gave me 
yet some hopes of finding a passage between them. Proceeding 
in the afternoon, a bight appeared to the S.S E., about two 
miles to the westward of Cape Up-anVlown, which was exa- 
mined, although there was no prospect of meeting with success 
by tracing it, and in it were found two small passages leading to 
the S.E., suitable only for boats. We ran down the largest, and 
a mile within the entrance were embayed. At the bottom of this 
bight the land was low, and I tried to get on some eminence, that 
I might command a view to the S.E., but was always im- 
peded by an impervious wood. I observed, however, distant 
high land in that direction, and could see a sheet of water, 
about six miles from me : but whether it was a lagoon, or a 
part of the Skyring Water, was doubtful. I could not, at this 
prospect, rejoice as Magalhaens did, when he first saw the 
Pacific, for my situation, I began to think, resembled that of 
Sterne''s starling. 

" Keeping along the south shore, until late in the evening^ 
we gained the west end of this reach, and finding no shelter for 
the boat, crossed to the broken land on the west side, and passed 
that night in Hewitt Harbour. 

" On the following morning, we pursued our course to the 
S.S.W. , and at eleven o"'clock reached the extremity of this 
extensive sovmd. All our suspense was then removed, and all 
our hopes destroyed ; for the closing shores formed but .a small 
bay in the S.W., and high land encircled every part without 
leaving an opening. 

" Throughout the examination of this sound, we did not 

352 OBSTRUCTION SOUND. April 1830. 

disti'nguish any decided stream of tide, and the rise and fall 
did not appear to have ever exceeded a foot : that there was a 
slio-ht tidal movement of the water seemed evident, from the 
streams of foam coming from the cascades ; and also from the 
fallen leaves which were borne on the water, from the shores of 
the bays, in long lines ; but signs like these are indicative of 
there beino- no strength of tide : I have frequently noticed such 
appearances in large sounds, or inlets, but never in any channel 
where there was a current. 

" The bays between Hope Promontory and Point Intervene 
are frequented by immense numbers of black-necked swans 
{Anser nigricollis) : hundreds were seen together ; they ap- 
peared not at all wild when we first passed; but, on our return, 
there was no approaching them within musket shot. Many 
ducks and coots were also observed. On a rock, near the Oliver 
Islands, was a small ' rookery ' of hair-seal ; and, in our progress 
down the sound, we passed some few shags and divers. This 
is the enumeration of all we saw, and these few species seem 
to possess, undisturbed, this Obstruction Sound; for we neither 
observed any wigwams, nor saw any traces of inhabitants. 

" Having no interest in remaining, after some necessary 
anoles were taken on Meta Islet, we commenced our return ; 
and, with a fair wind, made good progress, landing only where 
it was necessary for angles, and reached the vessel on the evening 
of the next day (16th). I have fully stated the examination of 
this sound, and have been, perhaps, unnecessarily particular 
and diffuse ; but I think that when its near approach to the 
Skyrino- Water is known by others, it will be considered very 
singular that no communication exists between them. To every 
one on board the Adelaide it was a great disappointment. The 
only inlet now remaining to be explored was through the S.S.E. 
opening, east of Point Return ; which, on the 18th, I went to 
examine. Mr. Kirke returned on the same day as myself, having 
traced the coast as far as he had been du-ected, and found the 
large expanse of Disappointment Bay nearly bounded by a flat 
stony beach ; and the water so shallow, that even his whale- 
boat could seldom approach the shore within a quarter of a 

April 1830. obstruction sound. 353 

mile ; but he had left a small opening in the N.E. unexplored, 
which, as our last hope, I thought it necessary to examine ; 
and he went for that purpose the next morning. Situated as we 
were, we had great reason to be very earnest in the search for 
a passage ; and, I think, that no channel into the Skyring 
Water, however small and intricate, would have been left un- 
attempted at this crisis. During the vessel's continviance in 
Easter Bay, the men, who remained on board, were employed 
in clearing the hold, and completing wood and water to the 
utmost, in order that we might not be delayed at any anchorage 
after our departure thence. 

" On the 18th, I went, in a boat, down the opening east of 
Point Return; and by noon reached Virginia Island. Two miles 
to the southward the channel branches to the S.E., and to the 
S.W. ; T followed the latter branch, landing where necessary to 
continue the angles, and arrived in the evening at the extremity, 
which was closed by low land ; in the middle was a wide and 
rapid stream. The slot of a deer was seen along the margin of 
the shore. Next day we proceeded down the S.E. branch to 
the Centre Island, thence steered towards an opening that 
appeared in the S.W., and passing through a narrow winding 
passage, entered a large bay, which was closed at the bottom 
by low land, similarly to the branch examined yesterday. 
Only an opening to the N.E. now reinained to be explored ; 
but night coming on, we hauled up in Tranquil Bay, near 
the northern extremity. The N.E. opening was found to 
trend eastward for three miles, and then turn to the S.E., 
forming an extensive bay, whose shores were encircled by 
low land, and only separated from Obstruction Sound, by an 
isthmus two miles broad. Our search being concluded, I has- 
tened back, and arrived on board the schooner late in the even- 
ing. Finding Mr. Kirke had not returned, I still entertained 
some little hope, and the vessel was prepared to move either 
one way or the other as soon as he came back. 

" Late on the 21st, Mr. Kirke arrived. The opening in the 
N.E. had been traced for nearly thirty miles from the entrance, 
first to the N.E., and then to the W.N.W., till it was closed 

VOL. I. 2 a 

354 LAST HOPE INLET — swAXs — COOTS. April 1830. 

by high land far to the nortliward of Worsley Bay. Many 
deer were seen on the plains eastward of the inlet, and some 
were shot at, but escaped. Swans, ducks, and coots had been 
killed in such numbers, that on their return all the schooner's 
crew were plentifully supplied. Of this place Mr. Kirke says : 
' At the commencement of the N.E. sound there is low land, 
which extends about thirteen miles up its shores. The entrance 
is three or four miles vdde ; but five miles up, the inlet is con- 
tracted to about half a mile in width, by a shoal connecting 
three islets with the western shore. These islets were literally 
surrounded by black-necked swans, mixed with a few which 
had black-tipped wings : the male of the latter has a pecuHar 
note, which sounds like ' ken kank,' but the female only sounds 
' kank.' 

^' ' A few coots were shot in this neighbourhood, out of an 
immense quantity seen. In each of two flocks, I tliink, there 
must have been upwards of a thousand. 

" ' From these islets the sound trends nearly north for seven 
or eight miles, when it is again narrowed by an island, on each 
side of which there is a narrow passage for a vessel ; but the 
eastern one is the best. The few bays near here are fit for small 
vessels only. 

" ' Beyond this island the face of the country begins to alter 
from low to mountainous land, with long flats in the valleys, 
and the sound also changes its course more to the N.W. Near 
a high bluff" on tlie eastern shore, eight miles further up the 
sound, the land becomes higher and covered with snow ; yet 
there are still a few level patches between the mountains. 
From this bluff" the sound trends about a point more westerly 
for five or six miles, to a place where there is a small inlet, on 
the left, between two snow-covered, mountainous ridges. The 
water there was changed to a clayey-colour, and had a brackish 
taste. Continuing our course for two miles, I found a large 
expanse of water, the north end of which was limited by low 
land, backed by high snowy mountains in the distance ; its 
southern extreme terminated at the foot of high mountains, 
also covered with snow ; and had a large run of water from a 

April 1830. deek — river — lagook. 355 

glacier on the western side. In returning we saw some deer on 
the eastern shore of the low land, between the islands of the 
second reach, but could not get within gun-shot : they appeared 
to be of a dark colour, and fully as large as a guanaco. Some 
of our men thought they could distinguish small straight horns, 
but I could not myself see them.(c?) I endeavoiu-ed to cross the 
isthmus, where Lieutenant Sk3'ring had seen water from Focus 
Island, near Easter Bay, and first attempted it by the course 
of a fresh water river, at the head of the bay ; but I fovmd the 
country so thickly covered with stunted wood, about eight feet 
high, and exceedingly prickly, that I lost my way twice, and 
returned to the shore ; I tried again however, about half a mile 
more to the eastward, and at last got to a high part of the 
land. When there, and mounted on another man's shoulders, 
I could scarcely see above the trees (which, at the roots, were 
not thicker than a man's wrist) : there was evidently a large 
expanse of water, but I could not distinguish much of it. I 
think it probable that it is fresh, as the river, fifty yards wide, 
is rapid, and appears to run out of it. There is not any high 
land in the neighbourhood, whence such a run of fresh water 
could be supplied. 

" ' I saw numbers of deer tracks about this place, and the 
boat's crew observed three deer similar to those above-men- 
tioned.'— (Kirke MS.) 

" We weighed on the 22d, and towed out of Easter Bay, 
with the hope of repassing Kirke Narrow ; but shortly after- 
wards so dense a fog arose, that we could distinguish no land, 
and were unable to profit by the advantage of a light fair wind, 
with otherwise favourable weather. In the afternoon, when it 
cleared up a little, we anchored in Fog Bay, on the west side 
of the channel, about three miles from Kirke Narrow. 

Cd) Mr. Kirke was rather sboi't-sig-hted, and therefore unable to dis- 
cern distant objects clearly. From the natives of Ponsonby land, be- 
tween the Otway and Skyring Waters, I procured, and gave to Captain 
King, some short straight horns, and parts of the skins of animals, which 
were probably deer of the kind seen by Mr. Kirke, and, since that time, 
by Mr. Low, when he followed my track into the Skyring Water with 
his sealing vessel, the Unicorn schooner. — R. F. 

2 a2 



" (23d.) A thick fog confined us at our anchorage till eight, 
when, having some hopes of the weather clearing, we weighed, 
and stood for the Narrow, but a continued haze prevented us 
from entering until after noon. As we approached, no tide 
could be perceived, and again we were doubtful of our calcu- 
lations, having expected to find it favourable, however, we 
steered for the islands. To give a better idea how we were 
driven about as we tried to approach this Narrow, I have 
attempted, in the subjoined plan, to show the direction of the 
currents, and the courses we were carried by the eddies. 

*' The wind was light from the north-eastward. Upon our 
reaching the station marked 1, without having previously 

April 18B0. pas^sagk oi" the narrow. 357 

noticed any current, we observed a strong ripjjling in the 
Narrow, and immediately sent the boats a-head to tow us 
towards mid-channel. We proceeded rather quickly imtil 
we arrived at 2, when our progress was checked, and we were 
carried rapidly back, as far as 3. In the Narrow the tide wa^ 
evidently against us ; but in crossing to the N.W. at 4, we 
were forced by the counter-current against all the efforts of the 
boats — were carried close to the large island — and for the space 
of thirty yards, were brushing the overhanging trees with our 
main-boom. This part was, most fortunately, quite steep ; for 
had the vessel touched in her swift course, she must have been 
swung with violence against the rocks, and much damaged, per- 
haps irreparably. 

" No sooner had we passed the end of this island, than we 
were shot into mid-channel to 5, and then as suddenly and 
swiftly carried back by the stream of the tide. The boats could 
never keep hold of the vessel while in these whirlpools ; and it 
was several times fortunate that they had cast off' the tow-rope 
in time, for thrice we were twisted round, as if on a pivot, by 
those violent eddies. 

" A favourable moment was seized, the boats were again 
sent a-head ; and, by great exertions, we were towed out of the 
influence of the tide, and then waited for the time of slack 

" At three o^'clock Mr. Kirke was sent to Guard Point, to 
ascertain the time of high water ; and at half-past four, in con- 
sequence of his signal, we towed in with both boats, and passed 
the islands with a favouring tide ; but one quarter of a mile 
farther, we met ripplings, which we had no sooner entered than 
a reverse of tide was found, as if the waters from the sounds 
were gradually forcing back the tide of the channel. We still, 
however, made progress to the S.W. ; but it was not before 
eight o"'clock that we anchored in the west entrance of this 
Narrow, pleased, indeed, to be again secure, and to have 
escaped unharmed. 

" 24th. Thick, hazy weather in the morning ; but at eight 
o'clock it cleared a little, so wc weighed, and soon reached the 

358 ARRIVE AT PORT FAMINE. April, May 1830. 

Ancon of Sai-miento. A strong S.E. wind, during the fore- 
noon, carried us past Cape Ano Nuevo, and at noon we were 
near tlie opening into Smyth Channel, which I have called 
Victory Passage. We moored in Sandy Bay, in eight fathoms, 
purposing to remain during the next day (Sunday); and on the 
26th, with a moderate wind from the nortliward, we left Sandy 
Bay, and stood to the south, passed the Elson Islands by noon, 
and at three moored in Hose Harbour. Next day we cleared 
Smyth Channel, and anchored in Deep Harbour. 

" (28th.) Wind light and northerly. We towed out of 
Deep Harbour at daylight, stood across Beaufort Bay, and 
anchored in Tamar Bay ; where, the weather being unfavour- 
able, Ave remained during all the next day, filling water and 
cutting wood, — preparatory to our run to Monte Video, — in 
case of not finding the Adventure at the appointed rendez- 
vous, Port Famine. 

" On the 30th, with a moderate breeze from the N.W., we 
left Tamar Bay ; but the Avind soon after becoming contrary, 
we made but little progress, and anchored that evening in a 
small cove, near the east point of Upright Bay, where we 
passed the following day, in consequence of the wind continu- 
ing easterly, and causing much sea in the Strait. 

" 2d. Weighed, stood out, and made all sail, steering through 
the Strait. We passed Playa Parda early that afternoon, and 
Cape Quod soon afterwards, and as there was every appear- 
ance of a moderately fine night, continued our covirse. We 
hauled in near Port Gallant, when it grew dark, and burned 
a blue light, to call the attention of any vessel lying there ; 
but no return was made, so we passed on. At midnight we 
were between Cape Holland and Cape Froward, the wind 
being light and tiie weather moderate. 

" 3d. On rounding Cape Froward, we beat up in-shore 
against a N.N.E. breeze, and in the evening were three or four 
miles to the northward of Point St. Isidro. After a tempes- 
tuous night, Ave reached Port Famine, Avhere, to our great joy, 
we found the Adventure." 

With the exception of such fish and birds as had been pre- 

May 1830. zoological kemarks. 359 

viously observed near the Strait, Lieutenant Skyring and his 
party saw few living creatures. One novelty which ]\lr. Bynoe 
gave me was a splendid corvorant, which, being quite new, 
and the most beautiful of the genus, I named P halacrocorax 

I also received a species of swan, quite distinct from the 
common one of the Strait, which has been long known as the 
black-necked swan (Anser nigricollis of Ind. Orn., ii. 834 ; 
and Latham, x. 2:^3). Considering it an undescribed species, 
it was named Cygnus anatodoides.-f 

Several deer were seen, but none obtained. There is reason, 
however, to suppose them to be of a novel species. The horns 
are short and straight. 

* Phal : capite cristato, collo posterioi'i, corporeque supra intense pur- 
pureis; alls scapularihusque viridi-atris; remigibus rectricibusque duodecim, 
fusco-atris ; corpore subtus, fascia alarum maculdque dorsi medii sericeo- 
albis ; rostro nigro ; pedibus flavescentibus. Staluria Phal. Carbonis_ 
It was found in the Inner Sounds, within the 'Ancon sin Salida.' — 
Proceed, of the Zool. Society, vol. i. ; also Phil, Magazine, for March 
1831, p. 227. 

t C. albus remigibus primariis ad apicem nigris, rostro pedibusque rubris, 
illo lata subdepresso. Molina describes a Chilian duck thus. Anas Cosco- 
roba — A. rostro extremo dilatato rotundnto, corpore albo, but I do not think 
it is the same as my specimen ; certainly it is not Anser Candidus of 
Veillos, the ganso bianco of D'Azara, which the author of the Diet. 
D'Hist. Nat. (xxiii. 331.) supposes to be the same as A. Coscoroba (id. 
p. 332). Molina's description is very short, and does not mention the 
tips of the primary wing feathers being black. 


Beagle sails from San Carlos — Enter Strait — Harbour of Mercy — Cape 
Pillar — Apostles — Judges — Landfall Island — Cape Gloucester — Dis- 
location Harbour — Week Islands — Fuegians — Latitude Bay — Boat's 
crew in distress — Petrel — Passages — Otway Bay — Cape Tate — Fin- 
cham Islands — Deepvvater Sound — Breaker Bay — Grafton Islands — 
Geological remarks — Barbara Channel — Mount Skyring — Compasses 
affected — Drawings — Provisions — Opportunities lost. 

Captain Fitz Roy having received his orders on the 18th 
of November (see Appendix), sailed the following morning 
from San Carlos, and proceeding to the southward, approached 
the entrance of the Strait of Magalhaens on the night of the 
24th. The following are extracts from his Journal : — 

" At daylight on the 25th, with the wind at S. W., we made 
Cape Pillar right a-head (E.N.E. by compass), distant seven 
or eight leagues. The wind became lighter, and we were set 
by a current to the S.W., which obliged us, in nearing the 
Cape, to alter our course from E.N.E. to N.N.E., to avoid 
being carried too near the Apostle Rocks. A dangerous rock, 
under Avater, on which the sea breaks, lies half a mile more 
towards the north than either of the Apostles. Cape Pillar is 
a detached headland, and so very remarkable that no person 
can fail to know it easily. 

" A very good latitude was obtained at noon, from which, and 
the astronomical bearing of the Cape, we made its latitude 
within half a mile of that given in the chart by Captain Stokes 
and Lieutenant Skyring ; and the weather being clear and 
fine, sketches were taken of all the surrounding land. At one, 
we passed the Cape, and at three, anchored in the Harbour of 
Mercy. By the distance we had run, as shown by the patent 
log and compared with the chart, there had been a current 
against us of more than a knot an hour. 


" In working into the harbour we passed over several patches 
of kelp, under which the bottom was plainly visible ; but the 
lead never showed less than five fathoms, until we were about 
to anchor, when the vessel shot a-head into a weedy place, 
where we had three fathoms. This was about a cablet's lensth 
in-shore (towards the highest mountain) of the spot marked by 
Lieutenant Sk}'ring as good holding ground, to which we 
warped and anchored. It proved to be very good ground, 
being extremely tough clay. 

" 2Tth. A promising morning tempted me to try to obtain 
observations and a round of angles on or near Cape Pillar. I 
therefore left the ship with the master, and went in a boat to 
the Cape. To land near it in much swell was not easy upon 
such steep and slippery rocks : at last we got ashore in a cove, 
and hauled the instruments up the rocks by lines, but could 
get no further, on account of precipices. I, therefore, gave up 
that attempt, and went outside the Cape, to look for a better 
place ; but every part seemed similar, and, as the weather was 
getting foggy, it was useless to persevere. In going to the 
Cape, and in returning, I measured the distance by a patent 
log, and found the mean of the two measurements agree with 
the chart. What current there was, ran to the westward. 

" A small ox, which we had carried from Chiloe, was doomed 
to end his voyage at this place, and probably we were the first 
people who ever eat fresh beef in the Strait of Magalhaens. 

" 2Stli and 29th. Gloomy days, with much wind and rain ; 
and the gusts coming so violently over the mountains, that we 
were unable to do any work, out of the ship. 

" 30th. Still blowing and raining. 

" Dec. 1st and 2d. Cloudy days, with strong wind ; but one 
short interval of sunshine was gladly made use of for rating our 

" 3d. This morning we weighed, and worked out ; and at 
one P.M. we were three miles westward of Cape Pillar, with 
every appearance of a N.W. gale. Shortly after, the weather 
became so thick, that I could not see any part of the coast ; 
and therefore stood off shore, under low sail, expecting a bad 


night. Contrary to my expectation, the wind did not much 
increase ; but the thick weather, and a heavy swell, induced 
me to stand farther out than I had at first intended. At eleven, 
P.M., we wore and stood in until daylight on the 4th, when we 
found ourselves so much to the southward, that the land about 
Cape Pillar bore N. b. W., the Cape itself being shut in. We 
steered for the land, hoping to turn the day to some account ; 
but those hopes soon ceased, for before we had run sufficient 
distance to make a serviceable base line, the weather became so 
thick as to oblige us to haul our wind. We saw just enough 
to make out a number of rocks and breakers, lying at a consi- 
derable distance oiF shore. After noon it was clearer, and we 
again stood in-shore ; but found that the current was setting 
us so fast to the southward, that it was necessary to carry all 
sail and keep on a wind, to avoid losing grovind ; yet, with a 
fresh, double-reefed topsail breeze and a deeply laden weatherly 
vessel, we could not hold our own, and at seven in the evening 
were close to an islet which lies off Cape Sunday. We had seen 
very little of the coast thus far : the current had rendered the 
patent log useless for measuring bases, and the weather was 
very unfavourable for astronomical observations. The land 
appeared to be high and mountainous, as far as Cape Deseado, 
whence it seemed lower and more broken, forming a large bay 
between that cape and Cape Sunday. Many rocks on which 
the sea breaks violently lie at a distance from the shore, besides 
those two clusters called the ' Apostles' and the 'Judges: ' the 
latter off Cape Deseado, and the former off Apostle Point, a 
little south of Cape Pillar. 

" 5th. To our mortification, we found ourselves a great way 
off shore ; and Landfall Island, which was eight miles to lee- 
ward the last evening, was now in the wind's eye, at a distance 
of about six leagues. A strong wind, with much swell, pre- 
vented our regaining lost ground in a northerly direction, I 
therefore preferred standing to the S.E. by the wind, intending 
to seek for a harbour, as it seemed hopeless to try to survey 
this coast while undei sail, with such obstacles to contend 
against as a current setting about a mile an hour, and a sky 


generally clouded over. Our only chance appeared to be, 
going from harbovir to harbour and keeping close in-shore. 

" Behind Landfall Island the coast forms a deep bay, appa- 
rently full of islands, and it is said there is in that part a 
communication with the Strait of Magalhaens. Looking from 
seaward there seems to be an opening. 

" From the southern point of this bay the coast presents 
a high and regular line for a few miles, and then there is a 
succession of islets, rocks, and broken land. We stood in 
close to the breakers, but too late in the evening to find an 
anchorage. I observed kelp on the surface of the water, 
growing up from the bottom, while the lead gave a depth of 
forty-five fathoms. This was in a wild-looking, open bight, 
full of rocks and breakers, and much exposed. 

" We stood off, close to the wind, hoping to make northing 
and westing during the night ; but at midnight it fell calm, 
and at day-break on the 6th, to our astonishment, we found 
ourselves to the southward of Cape Gloucester, a high, remai'k- 
able promontory, standing out from the land as if it were an 
island, with a peaked top, which, from the southward, appears 
notched. The day proved very fine, and as a breeze sprung up 
from the S.E. and gradually increased, I had hopes of seeing 
more of the coast, along which we had been hustled so fast, 
and so much against our inclination. 

"In running along shore, I noticed several inlets that seemed 
likely to afford good harbours. This coast has not, by any 
means, such a rugged and harsh appearance as I expected ; 
but the number of islets and breakers is quite enough to give 
it a most dangerous character. The land is not very high near 
the sea, and seems to be wooded wherever the prevailing winds 
will allow trees to grow. Soundings were taken at various dis- 
tances within four miles of the shore, and the depth generally 
was between twenty and one hundred fathoms. A good idea 
may be formed of the current which had taken us to the S.E., 
when I say that, even with a fresh and fair wind, it occupied 
us the whole of the 6th to regain the place we had left the pre- 
vious evening. 


" 7th. At daylight it blew half a gale of wind; but we stood in, 
a little south of the cluster of rocks, called the Judges, towards a 
part of the shore which promised to afford a harbour. On closing 
it we saw an inlet, apparently large ; but so fortified at the 
entrance by rocks and breakers, that I did not like to run in, 
without first sending a boat ; yet it blew too strong, and there 
was too much sea, to lower one ; therefore I stood off to wait for 
more moderate weather, for the place suited my purpose exactly, 
being near enough to the Judges, and Apostles, to fix their 
situation. This morning, Mr. Murray sHpped across the fore- 
castle and dislocated his shoulder : an accident which deprived 
us of his services for some time, and on account of it, we called 
the place where we anchored soon afterwards. Dislocation Har- 
bour. So many rocks lie off this coast, that a vessel ought not 
to approach it unless she has daylight and clear weather. The 
lead will give warning, should the weather be thick, as sound- 
ings extend at least to four miles off shore, at which distance 
there are from thirty to one hundred fathoms, and generally 
speaking, there is less water as you approach the land. 

" On the 8th, 9th, and 10th, we were busily occupied in 
surveying the harbour and adjacent coast. In this place water 
may be obtained very easily, as boats can lie in a fresh water 
stream which runs from the mountains. Wood is also plentiful. 
The harbour is large enough for four small vessels, and the 
bottom is very even, from fifteen to twenty-five fathoms, fine 
white sand. The entrance is narrow, but all dangers are visible, 
and now are laid down in the chart. It is much exposed to west 
winds, and the westerly swell, which might for weeks together 
prevent a vessel from getting out to sea. 

" 11th. A strong wind and much haziness prevented my 
weighing until near noon, when it became more moderate, 
though the weather was still thick. We then worked out with 
a light and variable breeze, which baflBed us near the entrance, 
but at last we gained a good offing. I rejoiced to be outside, 
for our business in the harbour was over, and I had feared 
that west winds would detain us. The promontory, just to the 
southward of Dislocation Harbour, appeared to me to be ' Cape 


Deseado,' and that to the northward I called Chancery Point. 
Mr. Wilson ascended some heights at the back of the harbour, 
from which he saw many lakes, among barren and rugged hills ; 
but a farther view was obstructed by other mountains. 

" An oar was picked up near the watering place, and recog- 
nised by one of the men as the same which was left on a rock 
near Cape Pillar (in Observation Cove) by Captain Stokes, in 
January 1827. There could be no doubt of the fact, as the 
man's initials were on the oar, and it is curious as a proof of 
an outset along the south side of the Strait (near Cape Pillar), 
and of its continuation along shore. Traces of a fire were found, 
which showed that the natives visit even this most exposed part 
of the coast. The land abovit here is high, and craggy ; and 
very barren, except in the valleys, where much wood grows. 
Some wild fowl were seen and shot. 

" From Cape Deseado, the coast is high and unbroken for 
three miles ; (a rocky islet lies about a mile from the shore) 
then there is an opening which probably leads into a good har- 
bour behind a number of islands. Several islands succeed, for a 
space of two miles, after which is Barrister Bay ; an exposed 
place, full of islets, rocks, and breakers, extending nearly to 
Murray Passage. In sailing along this coast we passed inside 
of several breakers ; and, I hope, noted all that lie in the 
offing : but, we cannot be sure, for breakers on rocks which 
are under the surface of the sea do not always show themselves. 
As it was getting dark, we hauled to the wind, near Cape Sun- 
day, and, in doing so, were startled by a huge breaker which 
suddenly foamed up at a small ship's length from us. Although 
looking out on all sides we had not previously seen any break 
near that spot. During the night we carried a heavy press of 
sail to avoid being drifted to the S.E., and at daylight I 
rejoiced to find that we had not lost ground, so we steered for 
the land, and rounded Graves' Island. Observing several open- 
ings, I hauled close round a point, and tried to enter one of 
them ; the wind, however, baffled us, and our anchor was let 
go in an exposed berth, but on good holding ground. We 
found a cluster of islands with so many anchorages between 


them, that thinking they ought to be surveyed, I returned on 
board, weighed, and worked towards the nearest opening. We 
shot into it, and warped to a berth four cables' lengths up a 
narrow passage, and anchored in twenty-four fathoms, upon 
sand and clayey mud. 

" 13th. Many wigwams were found in this neighbourhood, 
Avhich showed that our Fuegian acquaintances were occasional 
visitors. The inner harbour seemed to be a fine basin ; but 
the bottom was found inferior to that of the anchorage at 
which the Beagle lay moored. 

" 15th. Strong wind and frequent rain prevented much being 
done out of the ship this day. I went to the top of a mountain 
near the ship, but could not take many angles because of the 
violent squalls and the rain. At night it blew a hard gale : the 
squalls came furiously over the heiglits, and obliged us to let 
go a third anchor and strike topmasts. We were quite sheltered 
from the true wind ; but were reached most effectually by the 
Willi waws, which came down with great force. However vexed 
we might have been at not being able to go far from the ship, 
we were certainly very fortunate in escaping this gale at a secure 
anchorage. It appeared to be blowing veiy heavily at sea. 

" 16th. A strong gale all day, with much rain, prevented our 
leaving the ship. In coming down a height on the 15th, I found 
some red porphyry rock, Uke that about Port Desire ; and 
the first I had seen in these parts. Another novelty was a 
tract of about two acres of pure white sand thinly covered with 

" Thouffh the middle of summer, the weather was not much 
warmer than in winter. The average height of the thermometer 
was about ten degrees greater ; being nearly the same, as during 
the months of August and September, in Childe. 

" 17th. A continuance of bad weather : no work was done in 
the boats this day. In the afternoon I tried to go up the 
mountain I had ascended on Tuesday, to bring down a theo- 
dolite which I had left at the top ; but the wind obliged me to 
return unsuccessful. 

" 18th. Similar weather continued until noon : frequent strong- 


squalls, and rain : the sky being so constantly overcast that 
we saw neither sun nor stars. Although no progress was made 
in this weather, it was some satisfaction to think that we lost 
nothino; but time; and that we saved much wear of the vessel 
by lying at anchor instead of being at sea. Being more 
moderate in the afternoon, our boats went away, and the ship 
was prepared for sailing. We tried to get some fur-seal, which 
were seen on a rock near the harbour, but they were too wary- 

" My boat was almost capsized by a ' blind breaker,' which 
rose suddenly underneath her, and in an instant she was sur- 
rounded by and floated upon a white wave of foam, which 
broke all round and over, but without upsetting or swamp- 
ing her. 

" 19th. Weighed and ran across to an anchorage in Landfall 
Island which I had seen from the heights. We anchored in a 
sheltered bay lying on the north side of the larger island, at 
the east opening of a passage which separates it from the smaller. 
These islands are high and, towards the sea, barren ; but the 
sides of the hills, towards the east, are tliickly wooded. 

" A large smoke made near the bay showed us, that the 
Fuegians were in possession of our intended quarters; and soon 
after we anchored, a canoe came off to us full of men, women, 
and children, sixteen in all. They were in every respect similar 
to those we had so frequently met before; and from their unwil- 
lingness to part with furs or skins, unless for serviceable arti- 
cles, such as knives, &c. appeared to have had dealings with 
Europeans : beads and trinkets they did not value. They had, 
in the canoe, many eggs, and dead birds, which they eat raw: 
the birds were a light blue, or dove-coloured, petrel, about 
eight inches long, which goes on land for a part of the year 
to lay eggs in holes in the ground. During this and the follow- 
ing day, we were fortunate enough to obtain observations, and 
nearly all the necessary bearings and angles. 

" As yet I was pleased with the anchorage ; the bottom 
shoaled gradually from twenty to five fathoms (fine sand), and 
it was sheltered from west winds, besides others, except north. 
Having obtained particularly good observations for latitude at 


this spot ; I called it Latitude Bay. It is remarkably easy of 
access, and is also easy to leave : rather rare qualities in a 
Fuegian Harbour. Cape Innian being prominently situated, is 
a good guide to the anchorage. 

" Sunday 20th. A fine day ; and, knowing its value, we 
turned it to account. From a height I saw Cape Gloucester 
and the point of land on this (the northern) side of it ; and to 
the northward I could distinguish the land about the entrance 
to the Strait. The Landfall Islands appeared to be the top of a 
ridge of mountains lying (pai'tly below the sea) in the same 
direction as most of the neighbouring ranges. Many dangerous 
rocks lie off the S.W. side ; and there is no passage for a ship 
between the islands, for the opening is narrow, and has only 
two fathoms in some places. 

" 21st. This morning I sent the master and Mr. Wilson* in 
a whale-boat to the east end of the island, to make a plan of 
that part, and get some angles and bearings necessary for con- 
tinuing the survey. 

" 22d. A bad day, blowing hai'd and raining. The wind 
being: from north and N.N.W. threw in a swell; and as we were 
not yet sure of the quality of the bottom, though apparently 
good, we struck topmasts and veered away a long scope of 

" 24th. The wind shifted to the S.W. and became rather more 
moderate, though still squally, with much rain. It freshened 
again in the night, and backed to the northward. 

" Christmas-day. Blowing strong from N.N.W. with a 
thickly clouded sky and heavy rain. I was very anxious to see 
the master return, but he could not in such weather. I feared 
that his provisions would be exhausted, having taken only 
enough for four days ; yet they had a good tent, guns, and 

" 26th. A strong wind with thick weather and much rain 

throughout the whole day. There was no possibility of sending 

a boat to the master, or of his returning by water. The island 

being very narrow he, or some of his party, could walk across, 

• Mate, lent to the Beagle, from the Adventure. 

Dec. 1829. party ix distress. 369 

if they were in want of provisions, so as we did not hear from 
theni I trusted that they had found wild fowl enough, and 
were not in distress. 

" 27th. Rather a more moderate morning with clearer wea- 
ther. We looked out anxiously for the whale-boat, as, in such 
weather, she might get back to the ship without much diffi- 
culty. Before noon Mr. Wilson and the coxswain were seen 
on shore making signals to the ship ; and a boat was sent 
immediately to bring them on board. They were very weak 
and tired, having walked across the island during the preceding 
afternoon and night, and having had no food for the last two 
days. The master and the other four men were said to be in 
a cove at the back of the island, and to have been without pro- 
visions since the 24th, not having been able to find either shell- 
fish or wild fowl. 

" At the time Mr. Wilson arrived on board, I was absent tak- 
ing angles and bearings, but was soon infonned of his return, 
and at noon left the ship with a week's provisions for the 
master's party and my own boat's crew. I had not lost sight 
of the Beagle when I met the former returning. Having given 
them some food, and two fresh hands to help them in pulling 
to the ship (it being then quite moderate and fine) I continued 
my course to the place they iiad left, in order to do what the bad 
weather had prevented the master from doing. Being favoured 
with a fine afternoon I succeeded in obtaining the necessary 
angles and bearings, and returned to our vessel the following 


28th. At my return I found the master and his party 
nearly recovered. They had tried every day to return to the 
ship, but had been repeatedly forced back, at the risk of being 
driven out to sea. The gusts of wind from off' the high land 
were so powerful as almost to upset the boat, although she had 
not even a mast up. Continual rain had wetted their ammu- 
nition and tinder, and they were then without fire or victuals : 
upon which Mr. Wilson and the coxswain set out, on Satur- 
day afternoon, to acquaint us with their situation. 

" When they came down to the sea-side the Fuegians took 

VOL. I. 2 b 


advantage of their weak state to beat the coxswain and take 
away some of his clothes ; therefore after my return I went in 
search of them. They had however taken the alarm, and were 
all gone away. This party consisted of about twenty persons, 
eight of whom were men, and the rest women and children. 
When some of our officers went to their wigwams they appeared 
armed with clubs, spears, and swords, which seemed to have 
been made out of iron hoops, or else were old cutlasses worn 
very thin by frequent cleaning. They must have obtained these, 
and many trifles we noticed, from sealing vessels. By the visits 
of those vessels, I suppose, they have been taught to hide their 
furs and other skins, and have learned the effects of fire-arms. 
The chief part of their subsistence on this island appeared to 
be penguins, seal, young birds, and petrel whicli they take in 
a curious way. Having caught a small bird they tie a string 
to its leg and put it into a hole where blue petrels lay eggs. 
Several old birds instantly fasten upon the intruder, and are 
drawn out with him by the string. 

" We weighed and worked out of the bay, increasing our 
depth of water very gradually as we left the shore, but having 
always the same bottom, fine speckled sand. I can safely recom- 
mend this bay as a good anchorage for shipping, and two cable"'s 
lengths N.N.W. of the Beagle's berth as the best place. Wood 
and water are not to be found so close to the anchorage as in 
other Fuegian harbours, but they may be obtained with very 
little trouble, and in any quantity, by going up the passage 
(between the islands) to one of many streams which run from 
the high land. There is plenty of water also very near the 
best berth, on the south side, but frequently a surf breaks on 
that beach. Two particular advantages which this roadstead * 
possesses, consist in the ease with which a vessel can enter or 
leave it, during any wind ; and in its situation being well 
pointed out by a remarkable headland, named Cape Inman (in 
compliment to the Professor), which is high, with perpendicular 
cliffs, and almost detached from other land ; so that a vessel, 

• A small vessel may moor between the islands, instead of Ij'ing in the 
outer road. 

Dec. 1829. unexplored opkxtngs — otway bay. S71 

knowing her latitude within five miles of the truth, cannot fail 
to make it out, if the weather is tolerably clear. Wild fowl 
and shell-fish were very scarce there, probably because the 
Fuegians had scared or consumed them. From the top of a 
mountain, at the east end of the large island, I saw a great 
way down two channels or openings, which appeared to run 
far to the eastward, among many islands and very broken 
land. Such a succession of islets, rocks, and breakers, as the 
coast presented, was astonishing : many hundreds were counted 
while looking eastward from one station only. 

" I wished much to know where these openings led, and 
whether there was a direct communication through them to the 
Strait, as seemed almost certain; but considering the time 
already spent, the extent of coast to be surveyed, and the small 
advantage of such information, except to satisfy curiosity, I 
determined to proceed to the next prominent headland, a moun- 
tain at the S.E. extremity of Otway Bay, whose position I had 
already fixed with respect to stations on Landfall Island. 

" If there is a passage through those openings into Otway 
Bay, it must be unfit for vessels, being hampered with outlying 
rocks and breakers among which she could find no shelter in 
the event of rainy weather coming on before she cleared them ; 
and clouds and rain are prevalent. As yet we had been ex- 
tremely fortunate, in being under sail at intervals of fine wea- 
ther, and anchored during the gales ; but this was partly 
owing to a very careful attention to the barometer and sym- 

" Having left Latitude Bay, we stood off until midnight, 
and then in shore again, carrying a press of sail all the time, in 
order to ' hold our own' against our old enemy, the current. 

" At daylight (29th), not having been swept to leeward 
by the current, we were in a good position for continuing the 
survey from the place left the previous night. We bore up as 
soon as the land could be distinctly seen, — rounded Landfall 
Island very near the outer rocks, and then steered for Cape 
Tate (the extremity of the mountain I mentioned yesterday). 
Those outlying rocks are not very dangerous, as the sea 

2b 2 " 


always breaks violently upon them. In crossing Otway Bay, 
the morning being clear, I was enabled to add considerably to 
what had been already learned respecting the shoi-es and dangers 
around it.(e) 

" Off Cape Tate, to the north and west, lie the College 
Rocks. Those nearest the Cape are also nearest the track of a 
ship running along the land, and half a mile west of them lies 
a detached and dangerous rock, under water. The sea generally 
breaks on it. 

" We had very thick weather when close to those rocks, 
which obliged us to ' haul our wind' for half an hour ; when, 
as it cleared, we steered round Cape Tate, about a mile off 
shore. I was in hopes of gaining an anchorage between it and 
the Fincham Islands, and therefore kept as near the land as I 
could ; but seeing numerous breakers a-head and outside of 
me, I altered our course, and steered to go outside of all the 
ixjcks. After we had passed some of them, a large bight opened 
out to the north-eastward, and tempted me to haul up for it. 
We entered the sound at noon, and stood on for nearly four 
miles witliout finding an anchorage, or even gaining bottom with 
fifty fathoms of line, altliough at tlie entrance we had from 
twentv to ten fathoms. Thick weather coming; on, made me 
very anxious to anchor somewhere, and we were now too much 
hampered to stand out again. We appeared to be among a 
multitude of islands, very near each other, yet without any 
anchorage between them ; therefore, having no other resource, 
we let go both anchors upon the end of a steep-sided islet, where 
one fell into seven, the other into ten fathoms water, and hooked 
the rocks. Veering half a cable on each, we found forty fathoms 
vmder the stern, with a similar rocky bottom ; so that we had 
the pleasant prospect of shouldering both our anchors, and 
drifting into deep water, with the first strong squall. During 
the remainder of that day, our boats were looking for better 
anchorage, but without success ; they found patches of rocky 

CeJ In Otway Bay, not far from Landfall Island, is a rock on wliieh 
Mr. Low found Fuegians living among a number of (apparently) tame 
seals. See second volume.-^R. F. 

Jan. 1830. deepwater sound — bueaker bay. 373 

ground with from ten to twenty fathoms here and there, but 
not one that could be preferred to our islet. 

" 30th. One Fuegian family was found here, consisting of 
a man and woman, with their children. During this day it 
rained too hard for anything to be done out of the ship ; the 
wind was moderate ; yet much as I disliked our rocky berth, 
it could not be changed. 

" Slst. Moderate wind, with clearer weather. Mr. Murray 
and Mr. Stokes went away to different parts of the sound, 
while I was employed near the ship. Observations for lati- 
tude, longitvide, and variation were made. 

" 1st January. During part of the last night and this morn- 
ing, the wind blew strongly in squalls, and made me veiy 
anxious; but the weather rendered it impossible to move volun- 
tarily, for it was raining hard as well as blowing. At about 
eight it cleared, and the wind shifted to the southward, when 
we weighed, and worked down the sound ; but it was after 
noon before we had cleared its entrance, and seven in the even- 
ing before we were outside of all the breakers, the wind having 
been light and contrary the whole time. 

" (2d.) At five this morning, being close to the Fincham 
Islands, with clear weather, and a fresh breeze from the N.W., 
we steered into Breaker Bay, towards a ragged-looking pro- 
jecting point. Having approached as near as we could, and 
sounded, and taken angles, we steered so as to pass outside of 
some very outlying rocks, near the middle of the bay ; for 
in-shore of them, I saw from the mast-head numerous breakers, 
rocks, and islets, in every direction. A worse place for a ship 
could scarcely be found ; for, supposing thick weather to come 
on when in the depth of the bay, she would have lurking 
rocks and islets just awash with the water, on all sides of her, 
and no guide to take her clear of them, for soundings would 
be useless ; and in such weather, the best chart that could be 
constructed would not help her. With this idea of the place, 
and for reasons similar to those which induced me to pass has- 
tily across Otway Bay, I steered for Cape Gloucester, after 
passing the Midbay Rocks, at the distance of a quarter of a 


mile. The land at the bottom of the bay appeared to be dis- 
tant, and much broken. Indeed, from the Week Islands to 
Cape Gloucesterj(/) there is an almost innumerable succession 
of islands and rocks, without any continued tract of land, 
so that channels might be found in all directions ; valuable, 
no doubt, to Fuegians in their canoes, but not often to seamen 
in ships, nor even to sealers; for where the natives go with 
their canoes, seals are never found in any numbers. 

" In crossing Breaker Bay, even with a moderate wind, there 
was a very cross and awkward sea, owing, doubtless, to the 
ocean swell rolling into this deep bight. Such a swell would 
add much to the difficulty which vessels might find in getting 
out of this bay : I should therefore recommend them to avoid 
it particularly. Cape Gloucester is a most remarkable promon- 
tory, which can never be mistaken, after seeing even an indif- 
ferent sketch of it. At a distance it makes like a mountain rising 
out of the sea, but, on approaching nearer to it, a narrow neck 
of land appears. 

" We found from twenty to thirty fathoms water, at the 
distance of a mile from the cape ; and saw several outlying 
breakers about half a mile off shore. From the steep and 
rocky nature of these coasts one would not expect to find sound- 
ings until close to the land : but on every outer part of this 
coast, that we have visited, the bottom may be reached with 
the sounding line. Some natives were seen under the cape, 
who made a large fire. We stood into two bights, looking for 
anchorage, but, finding only rocks and breakers, steered along 
shore, rounded Ipswich Island, and hauled into a spacious bay, 
at the northern side of which there appeared to be several 
openings like harbours. In working across, we were agreeably 
surprised to find it a continued roadstead, open only towards 
the S.E., and having regular soundings, from twenty to four- 
teen fathoms. We anchored about a mile from the entrance of 
what seemed to be a harbour, at the N.W. corner, having 
worked up against a fresh N.W. wind. Our anchor was 
dropped in sixteen fathoms, and held well. I went directly to 
Cf) And thence to the Strait of Le Maire. — R. F. 

Jan. 1830. laura basin — geological remarks. 375 

look at the opening, and found a passage, in which were good 
soundings, leading into a very snug basin, perfectly sheltered 
from wind and sea, in which the bottom was composed of sand 
and clay, and the depth of water from five to fifteen fathoms. 
As soon as I returned we weighed and worked up to the en- 
trance of the basin ; then anchored, warped into it, and moored 
with half a cable each way. 

" This was the most secure and sheltered cove I had yet 
seen. It was called Laura Basin; and the bay we had crossed 
was named Euston Bay. I was very glad to discover so safe a 
place, because it enabled me to ascertain the position of Cape 
Gloucester and the neighbouring land, with the correctness 
which so prominent a place required, and because I hoped that 
it would prove useful as a harbour for vessels. From the top of 
a high ridge surrounding the basin, I thought Cape Gloucester 
seemed to be about seven miles off, and seeing a valley lead 
some distance in the desired direction, determined to go to it 
overland. I was so much pleased with the bay and the basin, 
that I did not hesitate to spend some time in the examination 
of their vicinity. The mountains hitherto examined between 
Cape Pillar and these (the Grafton) islands, consist of green- 
stone, slate, or sandstone (excepting those near Deep-water 
Sound, which are of very coarse-grained whitish granite) ; and 
from the continual action of such heavy seas as break on those 
shores, the sandstone and slate rocks wear away, and by their 
detritus not only the bottoms of harbours are covered, but a 
bank is formed which extends into the offing. A moderate 
depth of water and good anchorages were found near slaty or 
sandstone hills, but exactly the reverse in the vicinity of gra- 
nite, (^r) 

" 4th. Early this morning I sent Mr. Murray in a whale- 
boat to examine and plan some openings I had noticed on the 
north side of Euston Bay ; and Mr. Stokes to make a plan of 
the harbour, and the basin in which we were lying. The master 
carried six days" provisions with him, in case he should be 
detained, as on a former occasion, by bad weather. No place 

fgj See second volume for further remarks on this subject. — R. F. 


could be more convenient than this for such purposes as wood- 
ing and watering ; and we took advantage of it to the utmost by 
filling the ship''s hold. The water casks were filled in our boat, 
in perfectly smooth water, and the wood was cut close to the 
water side. 

" 6th. A party of twelve, consisting of the Purser, Mr. W, 
Wilson, Mr. Megget, eight seamen and myself, set out from 
the ship, intending to walk to Cape Gloucester. We landed in a 
valley at the N. W. corner of the harbour and began our march, 
two men carrying the tent, and the others our instruments and 
provisions: we had arms also, in case of meeting Indians. Diffi- 
cult travelling, with such a cargo, very soon obliged us to stop 
and rest, but by continual changes with the heaviest loads, and 
great exertion on the part of those who carried them, we got 
over two-thirds of our journey in the course of the day, and at 
night pitched our tent, and defied the rain which poured inces- 
santly until seven the following morning : when every height 
was covered with snow, as if it had been the middle of winter. 

" 7th. As soon as we had breakfasted we moved on again, 
and at noon reached the foot of a mountain which forms the 
Cape. Leaving the others to pitch our tent and cook some vic- 
tuals, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Megget, and two seamen, ascended the 
mountain with me. A very severe task we had, but at last 
gained the highest pinnacle, where there was just room to 
place the theodolite and kneel by it, at the i-isk of a puff of 
wind canting us over either side. A stone moved from its place, 
would have reached the water as soon from one side as from 
the other. It was not a very clear day, but sufficiently so to 
enable me to gain the desired angles and bearings. From 
this summit I had a clear view of that dangerous place Breaker 
Bay, and was more confirmed in the idea I had formed of it, 
and rejoiced that I did not stand farther in with the Beagle. 
Having thus succeeded, and buried two memorials, one cased 
in tin and the other in a bottle, we filled our pockets with 
pieces of the rock and returned ; rather too quickly, for the 
steepness of the hill assisted us more than we wished. During 
our absence some Fuegians had appeai'ed, who were quiet and 

Jan. 1830. return from cape Gloucester. 377 

inoffensive ; but they seemed very distrustful of us, and, before 
sun-rise next morning, were all gone except one man. These 
natives seemed to be very active and went up the mountain in 
about half the time that our party required. They had two 
canoes with them, but how they had reached this place by 
water was puzzling, when the exposed bay they must have 
crossed and the prevailing weather were considered. Perhaps 
they had carried their canoes overland, being rather like the 
Chilote piraguas, made of boards sewed together. 

" 8th. We heard the voices of the Fuegians at day-break 
this morning ; b>ut at four o'clock only one old man remained, 
who was probably left to watch us. We began our return, 
rather stiff from previous days' exertions, and looking dismally 
at the high rugged hills between the Beagle and ourselves. The 
first ascent on our way back was the worst of all : how the men 
carried their cargo so well astonished me, for with a very light 
load I was glad to rest frequently. Breakfast revived us, and 
by taking afterwards a better line we avoided the steepest hills 
and found much easier walking. While resting at our meal 
the weather was so clear that I got bearings of Cape Inman 
and other points more than fifty miles distant. There was very 
little variety or novelty in this walk through a Fuegian island. 
The same kind of scenery and the same species of plants and 
shrubs were found which we had seen every where else in 
Tierra del Fuego. Being more or less rocky made the only 
change. Of quadrupeds, excepting otters and dogs, I saw no 
traces, nor do I think any were to be found. A large kind of 
snipe, by some called a woodcock, and quails, of a large and, I 
think, peculiar species, were often seen and shot. The latter 
are not by any means so well tasted as the European quail, 
and their flesh is darker and coarser. At seven this evening we 
were again on board the Beagle, not a little tired. 

" Should any future voyager feel inclined to make a similar 
excursion towards Cape Gloucester, he had better not think 
too lightly of his task. 

" 9th. Mr. Murray returned, having been into many open- 
ings between the islands to the eastward, and having collected 


much information. This afternoon it blew a heavy gale, but in 
such a sheltered place we only felt a few williwaws. From Mr. 
Murray's account it appeared that this island and those adjoin- 
ing it to the eastward are a cluster lying together, but quite 
separated from the mainland, or rather the main body of islands, 
by a channel opening northward into Breaker Bay, and to the 
southward into Stokes Bay. They were called the Grafton 

" 10th. We had a heavy gale throughout this day >vith much 
rain. Bad weather, while at a good anchorage, I did not at that 
time regret, as the materials for our charts accumulated fast, 
and afforded no leisure time while we were detained on board. 

" 11th. A favourable day allowed us to examine and sound 
the outer roads, and obtain a round of angles from the western 
extreme of Ipswich Island, which completed my triangulation. 
Landing there was dangerous, and ascending the hill extremely 
difficult, on account of thick tangled brushwood which grows 
about three or four feet high on every part of the east side, and 
is so matted together as to be almost impenetrable. We gene- 
rally scrambled over this jungle, but sometimes crept under it. 

" 12th. A tolerably fine day. The sun was visible both in 
the morning and afternoon ; and from different summits Mr. 
Stokes and I took angles. The sky being clear near the horizon 
gave us a wide range. Meanwhile the ship was prepared to sail 
in search of a new place at which to employ our instruments. 
I hoped that this basin, harbour, and roadstead, might be of 
service, and therefore spared no pains about them. Eight lati- 
tudes were obtained by sets of circum-meridional altitudes; 
with four different sextants : two by Mr. Stokes, the rest by 
me : and as they all agreed, within fifteen seconds, I supposed 
their mean to be nearly correct. The sights for time were good, 
and the chronometers were going so steadily that dependence 
may be placed upon the accuracy of their results. To a vessel 
bound round Cape Horn and meeting with an accident, or in 
want of wood or Avater, this place might be useful. It is very 
easy to find, and easy to enter or depart from with the prevail- 
ing westerly winds. 

Jan. 1830. Isabella island— hope harbour. 379 

" 13th. We weighed and left the harbour, but the morning- 
proved too hazy to allow of our running down the coast, there- 
fore until eight o'clock we kept under easy sail in the roads. 
Being clear and moderate after that time, we passed Leading 
Island, and hove-to, to watch for a breaker near it. It broke 
but twice during the hour that we waited, therefore probably 
there is water enough to allow any vessel to pass in safety. At 
ten we bore up, and ran towards Isabella Island ; my first 
object being to look for a place called by sealers ' Hope Har- 
bour,' which, from what I could learn, ought to lie there- 
abouts. Its situation was not recognised by our boatswain, (A) 
who had been in it when sealing on this coast ; so passing close 
to Isabella Island, we hauled our wind under the lee of the land, 
and came to an anchor in fifteen fathoms, sheltered from north 
to S. W. b. S. A high peaked hill, over the cove where I took 
observations, made this a suitable place for the business of the 
survey. Mr. Murray went up the height, while Mr. Stokes 
and I were employed near the water, till rain set in and drove 
us on board. This is the easternmost of the Grafton Islands. 
Beyond the channel, which separates them from the main body 
of islands, appeared a succession of broken land, not very 
high, but reaching apparently to a distant range of snowy 
mountains. The part nearest to us was a labyrinth of islets and 
rocks. Towards night the wind increased much, and drew to 
the S.W. and S.W. b. S. I was doubtful of our anchorage, and 
had the wind drawn one point more to the southward, we should 
have had a heavy sea to deal with, and must have slipped our 

"14th. Itmoderated again, and the sun showed himself enough 
to enable us to get sights, and be on board in time to weigh at 
nine. We had reason to think a seaUng vessel had been along 
this coast not long before us, by the traces our boats found in 
several places. Indians also had frequented these islands, for 
their wigwams were found everywhere. Observations on shore 
made our anchoring here of some consequence, although as a 

rhj Mr. Sorrell, formerly with Mr. Weddell, and since that time with 
Mr. Brisbane.— R. F. 


safe anchorage for other vessels, it is out of the question, being 
an exposed roadstead, with many rocks, both to seaward and 
in-shore. A sealer might use it, but not willingly I should 
think. As we ran towards the Agnes Islands, before a strong 
W.N.W. wind, many rocks and breakers showed themselves, 
and when we neared the islands, became numerous on each side 
of us. It would have been more prudent to have kept outside 
all of them ; but I was anxious to find Hope Harbour, or run 
into the entrance of the Barbara Channel, and anchor in the 
north cove of Fury Island. Having passed the three Agnes 
Islands, and being nearly abreast of Cape Kempe,* our view 
became far from agreeable, for the sea, on all sides, seemed 
strewed with breakers ; and how to steer so as to pass between 
them was perplexing. We were at this time running free, under 
treble reefed topsails, with top-gallant yards and masts on deck ; 
the wind being strong from W.N.W. , but the weather tolerably 
clear. Suddenly the boatswain hailed, ' Hard-a-port, a rock 
under the bows I' Round the little vessel turned, almost as fast 
as the order was given ; but the thrill that shot through us was 
happily not the precursor of our destruction ; for the supposed 
rock proved to be a huge whale which had risen close to the 
bows, and was mistaken for the top of a rock by the boatswain, 
who was looking out on the forecastle, while I was at the 
mast-head, and the ' hands' were upon deck. This part of 
the coast, from the Agnes Islands to Cape Schomberg, is the 
worst I have seen, it is so very broken, and has so many rocks 
and dangerous breakers lying at a long distance from the 

" At noon we were close to Fury Island ; but the wind fell 
and prevented our making much progress. Fury Harbour, 
Avhere the Saxe Cobourg was lost, is a wild exposed place, and, 
as the bottom is bad, it ought to be avoided by all vessels : 
there is but one patch of good ground, and that is very small. 

" Passing round Fury Island, we entered the Barbara Chan- 
nel, at the entrance to which stands Mount Skyring, a high, 
peaked, and most barren mountain, visible at a great distance. 

* The three peaks, in-shore of Cape Kempe, are very remarkable. 

' Jan. 1830. Barbara channel — north cove. 881 

We all felt much additional interest in what was then seen, 
on account of the late survey in the Adelaide. Cape Schoniberg 
and the Astrea Rock were easily known by Lieutenant Graves''s 
sketch. To a high mountain, which in some views very much 
resembled the dome of St. PauFs, I gave that name (finding it 
out of the limits of Lieutenant Skyring's survey) : it lies a short 
distance east of Cape Schomberg. A passage appeared to go to 
the eastward, passing from the Barbara channel, northward of 
Cape Scliomberg and St. PauFs. Light baffling winds and an 
ebb-tide, of about a knot an hour, setting out of the Barbara, 
detained us until six p.m., between the Magill and Fury 
Islands ; but soon after that hour we anchored in North Cove, 
a small but perfectly secure place. By reaching this anchorage, 
I had the satisfaction of being enabled to connect my work 
with Lieutenant Skyring"'s, and to take a fresh start for the 
next piece of coast. Hitherto we had been extremely fortunate, 
both with the ship and the boats ; but such success could not 
be expected always. 

" 15th. Early this morning, Mr. Murray went in a whale- 
boat to the islands, near Cape Kempe, to ascertain the situations 
of some reefs and islets thereabouts, and sketch the outer coast. 
Mr. Stokes went in another boat to look for Hope Harbour, 
and examine part of the coast. The boatswain accompanied 
him, as he thought he knew his way by passages among the 
islands, although he had failed to recognise the place from the 

" 16th. Bad weather, blowing a gale of wind and raining 
nearly all the day. 

" 17th. A squally and disagreeable day; but our boats made 
some progress. 

" 18th. Some Natives came alongside for a short time. As 
usual, we would not allow them to come on board, because of 
their being such dexterous thieves. A man to whom the canoe 
appeared to belong was far better featured, and more stoutly 
made, than any we had seen among the Fuegians. After bar- 
tering some of their very valuable property they left us. 

" 19th. Early this morning Mr. Stokes returned : he had 


been near enough to Hope Harbour, to see that it was in the 
Grafton Islands, and was one of the coves examined by Mr. 
Murray. He then returned as he had been desired ; but made 
very good use of liis time while away, by collecting materials 
for the charts. He fell in with a canoe under sail (the sail 
being a seal-skin) ; the first instance I had then known of a 
Fueo-ian canoe sailinsc As far as Mr. Stokes could see to the 
northward, the land was very broken, or rather it was a mass 
of islands reaching to the base of a range of snowy mountains. 

" North Cove is large enough to hold any vessel when moored ; 
but the passage, in and out, is too narrow and difficult for a 
ship of more than three or four hundred tons, unless she uses 
warps. Being on the weather side of high land, but sheltered 
by low islands, williwaws do not annoy during westerly winds ; 
but in a southerly gale I think they would be furious. 

" My next task was to ascend Mount Skyring. As there 
was but little snow on it, and the ground quite clear of wood, 
the ascent was easy ; but when at the summit I could not see 
far, because of low misty clouds. I had taken only a compass 
with me, intending to look round, and ascend a second time 
with my usual companion, a theodolite. After taking a few 
bearings, I moved the compass off its stand, and placed it on 
a stone ; when, to my surprise, I found the bearing of a point, 
I had just been looking at, altered twenty degrees. Suspecting 
the cause, I put it on another stone, a few feet distant, and 
found the bearing again altered many degrees. I then examined 
the stones, and found there was much pyrites in them ;* and 
that when broken, or struck against one another, they smelt 
strongly of sulphur. The compass was then replaced on its 
stand, and bearings of the same point taken from various spots, 
only a few feet apart, the point being many miles distant, and 
at each spot the compass gave a different bearing, and was very 
dull and sluggish, although it was a good Kater's compass, 
with a light card. Having thus satisfied myself of the very 
strong local attraction existing, I returned to the ship, intend- 

* Specimens of the rock at the summit are in the collection at the 
Geological Society, numbered 184 and 188. 

Jan. 1830. compass affected — drawings. 388 

ing to make no further use of a compass in this place ; and as 
Lieutenant Skyring might have been deceived in his bearings 
from a similar cause, I hoped to procure a round of angles, with 
a theodolite set to a true bearing, which might be serviceable 
for his work, as well as my own. Many pieces of the stone, 
from different heights, were brought down ; and in most of 
them were traces of metal. 

" The peaked top of this mountain is a mere heap of loose 
stones of all sizes. Whether the rock has been shattered in this 
manner by frost, by volcanic fire, or by lightning, I cannot 
tell ; but I should think, from its appearance, by all three. 
Many of the stones are vitrified, and many are porous, like 
pumice-stones, although not so light. 

" 20th. I again went up Mount Skyring, taking a theodolite 
with me ; and as the day was perfectly clear, and free from 
clouds, every point of land was visible, which can at any time 
be seen from that summit. Mount Sarmiento appeared in all 
its grandeur, towering above the other mountains to at least 
twice their height, and entirely covered with snow. Having set 
the theodolite to a painted post, fixed on shore near the Beagle 
(five miles distant), from which I had previously obtained the 
exact astronomical bearing of the spot on which the theodolite 
was placed ; I obtained a most satisfactory round of angles, 
including most of the remarkable peaks, islands, and capes, 
within a range of forty miles from the mountain. The day was 
so fine, that it was not cold on the height, nor was there any 
wind to disturb the adjustment of the instrument. 

This business being completed, I returned on board with 
Mr. Wilson, who, during the time I was on the height, made 
some very good sketches. Even at this early period his draw- 
ings were becoming a valuable addition to the gleanings of our 
cruise, and their number increased fast ; for he took much 
pains with them, and produced not only good drawings, but 
most accurate delineations of the coast. 

" 21st. Fine weather for this climate. Mr. Murray returned 
in the whale-boat, having had a successful trip. 

" By shooting and fishing we obtained frequent change of 


diet, for we shot much wild fowl (geese, shags, and ducks), and 
caught fish in the kelp, which were excellent eating. All that 
could be procured was regularly and equally- distributed to 
the different messes in turn, and an account kept in a ' game 
book.' (Appendix.) 

" 22d. Mr. Stokes went to examine Fury Harbour, and 
returned late at night. In consequence of his account of the 
remains of the Saxe Cobourg sealing schooner, lost in thathar- 
bour, I sent a boat with the carpenter to collect from it some 
wood and bolts which might be useful to our ship, and remained 
at anchor for a day longer than I had intended. 

" This day all hands were put upon two-thirds' allowance, but 
as it was a measure which affected the crew much and myself not at 
all, I was reluctant to give the necessary order, without first pro- 
posing the measui'e openly, and giving the following reasons : — 

" Having succeeded beyond expectation in the examination 
of the coast thus far, and hoping to be able to continue the 
survey in the same manner, while our provisions lasted, I 
thought it better to shorten the allowance while all hands were 
well and hearty, and could obtain supplies of fish and wild 
fowl, rather than at a later period, when we might be otherwise 
situated. An extent of coast lay before us, and the parts par- 
ticularly pointed out by Captain King, were yet unexamined. 

" 24th. A tolerably fine day ; I tried all the compasses on 
shore, in three different places, placing them in a line to a dis- 
tant mark ; because in taking bearings, for the variation of 
the compass, during previous days, I had found very wide 
differences between the results of the same, as well as different 
compasses ; and they were also very sluggish ; the light cards 
being more so than the heavy ones. I found it impossible to 
reconcile their results by change of place or position, therefore it 
is probable that all the rock affected the needle ; and I sus- 
pect that not only this island and the one on which Mount 
Skyring is situated, but most of the islands near are mag- 
netic : particularly a cluster lying about a mile to seaward 
of the Magill Islands, on Avhich, I believe, Lieutenant Skyring, 
or some of his party, took bearings. A boat was sent to 


watch the tide, on the day of new moon, at the entrance of the 
channel, and brought back a piece of the rock of which the 
last-mentioned cluster of islets consists. It is similar to that 
of Fury Island and Mount Skyring, apparently metallic, with 
a sulphureous smell, when struck or broken.* Small pieces 
put near the compass did not seem to affect it sensibly ; but I 
did not spend time in trying the experiment with nicety, being 
satisfied of the general result. There may be metal in many 
of the Fuegian mountains, and I much regret that no person 
in the vessel was skilled in mineralogy, or at all acquainted 
with geology. It is a pity that so good an opportunity of ascer- 
taining the nature of the rocks and earths of these regions should, 
have been almost lost. 

" I could not avoid often thinking of the talent and expe- 
rience required for such scientific researches, of which we were 
wholly destitute ; and inwardly resolving, that if ever I left 
England again on a similar expedition, I would endeavour to 
carry out a person qualified to examine the land ; while the 
officers, and myself, would attend to hydrography." 

♦ Geological Society, Coll. No. 197. ^ 

vot. i. 2 c 


Skyring's chart — Noir Island — Penguins — Fuegians — Sarmiento — 
Townshend Harbour — Horace Peaks — Cape Desolation — Boat lost — 
Basket — Search in Desolate Bay — Natives — Heavy gale — Surprise — • 
Seizure — Consequences — Return to Beagle — Sail to Stewart Harbour 
— Set out again — Escape of Natives — Unavailing search — Discomforts 
— Tides — Nature of Coast — Doris Cove — Christmas Sound — Cook — 
York-Minster — March Harbour — Build a boat — Treacherous rocks — 
Skirmish with the Natives — Captives — Boat-memory — Petrel. 

" 25th. We weighed, and went round to Fury Harbour, for 
the carpenter and his cargo, and met him with a spar and a 
raft of plank, taken from the wreck. Having hoisted the boat 
up, and got the plank on board, we stood out towards the 
West Furies, by the wind ; my intention being either to sail 
round Noir Island, or anchor under it, before running to the 
eastward, in order that no part of the sea-coast might be left 
unexamined. We passed very near some of the rocks, but as 
the day was fine and the weather clear, a good look-out at the 
mast-head could be trusted. 

" Before leaving the vicinity of Mount Skyring, I should 
remark that the true bearing of Mount Sarmiento's summit, 
which I obtained from the top of Mount Skyring, laid off on 
Lieutenant Skyring's chart, passed as truly through his posi- 
tion of the summit as if the line had been merely drawn be- 
tween them. This is highly creditable to his work, for I know 
he did not himself see Mount Sarmiento, when upon Mount 

" The breeze fi-eshened, and drew more to the westward to- 
wards evening, I had therefore no hopes of nearing Noir 
Island. We saw the Tower Rocks distinctly before dark, and 
stood on towards them until ten o"'clock, closing Scylla to 
avdfd Charybdis, for in-shoreof us lay all those scattered rocks. 


among which we had steered when passing the Agnes Islands 
and Cape Kempe. 

" The night was spent in making short boards, under reefed 
topsails, over the same two miles of ground, as nearly as pos- 
sible, with tlie lead going, and a thoroughly good look-out. 
At daylight next morning the wind became strong and the 
weather thick, with rain, but we made as much sail as we could 
carry, and worked to windward all the day. In the afternoon it 
moderated, and before dark we anchored in a very good road- 
stead, at the east end of Noir Island, sheltered from all winds 
from N. to S. b. E. (by the west) ; over a clear, sandy bottom ; 
and with a sheltered cove near us where boats may land easily, 
and get plenty of wood and water. In working up to the 
Island, we passed very near a dangerous rock, under water, 
lying four miles off shore ; and another, near the anchorage. 
The sea does not break on either of them when there is not 
much swell. 

" 27th. A fine day favoured us ; the master went to one part 
of the island, and Mr. Stokes to another, while I went to a third. 
Having taken angles at the extreme west point (which ends in 
a cluster of rocks like needles), I passed quite round the island, 
and returned to the anchorage after dusk, landing here and 
there for bearings, in my way. 

" There is a cove at the south part of the island, where boats 
would be perfectly safe in any weather, but the entrance is too 
narrow for decked vessels. The island itself is narrow and long, 
apparently the top of a ridge of mountains, and formed of sand- 
stone,* which accounts for the bottom near it being so good, 
and for the needle-like appearance of the rocks at the west end ; 
as the sand-stone, being very soft, is continually wearing away 
by the action of the water. 

" Multitudes of penguins were swarming together in some 
parts of the island, among the bushes and ' tussac'f near the 
shore, having gone there for the purposes of moulting and rear- 

• Geological Society, No. 238 to 240, (perhaps clay-slate. P.P.K.) 
t Name given by sealers to a thick rushy kind of grass, which grows 
near the sea, in these latitudes. 

2 c 2 


ing their young. They were very valiant in self-defence, and ran 
open-mouthed, by dozens, at any one who invaded their terri- 
tory, little knowing how soon a stick could scatter them on the 
ground. The young were good eating, but the others proved 
to be black and tough, when cooked. The manner in which 
they feed their young is curious, and rather amusing. The 
old bird gets on a little eminence, and makes a great noise 
(between quacking and braying), holding its head up in the air, 
as if it were haranguing the penguinnery, while the young one 
stands close to it, but a little lower. The old bird having conti- 
nued its clatter for about a minute, puts its head down, and 
opens its mouth widely, into which the young one thrusts its 
head, and then appears to suck from the throat of its mother 
for a minute or two, after which the clatter is repeated, and 
the young one is again fed ; this continues for about ten 
minutes. I observed some which were moulting make the same 
noise, and then apparently swallow what they thus supplied 
themselves with ; so in this way I suppose they are furnished 
with subsistence during the time they cannot seek it in the 
water. Many hair seal were seen about the island, and 
three were killed. Wild fowl were very numerous. Strange to 
say, traces of the Fuegians (a wigwam, &c.) were found, which 
shows how far they will at times venture in their canoes. 

" No danger lies outside of Noir Island, except in the Tower 
Rocks, which are above water, and ' steep-to," but many perils 
lie to the south-eastward. Indeed, a worse place than the neigh- 
bourhood of Cape Kempe and the Agnes Islands could not 
often be found, I think : the chart of it, with all its stars to 
mark the rocks, looks like a map of part of the heavens, rather 
than part of the earth. 

" 28th. At daylight we sailed from these roads, and passed 
close to the Tower Rocks (within half a cable's length) : they are 
two only in number, a mile and a half apart, and steep-sided. 
Thence we steered towards St. Paul's, my intention being to 
seek an anchorage in that direction. This day proved very 
fine and so clear that when we were becalmed, off St. Paul's, 
we saw Mount Sarmiento distinctly from the deck. A breeze 


carried us through Pratt Passage, which separates London 
Island from Sydney Island, to an anchorage in a good harbour, 
under a high peaked hill (Horace Peaks), which is a good 
mark for it. Finding no soundings in the Passage as we 
approached, gave us reason to be anxious ; but in the har- 
bour, the bottom proved to be excellent, and the water only of a 
moderate depth. As soon as we anchored, I tried to ascend 
Horace Peaks, but returned without having reached their sum- 
mits before dark ; however, I saw enough to give me a general 
idea of the distribution of the land and water near us. I thought 
that this anchorage would be favourable for ascertaining the 
latitude of Cape Schomberg* with exactness : having found a 
considerable difference between our chart and that of Lieute- 
nant Skyring, respecting the latitude of that promontory. 

" Meanwhile I contemplated sending the master to a head- 
land called by Cook, Cape Desolation, and which well deserves 
the name, being a high, craggy, barren range of land. I was 
not sorry to find myself in a safe anchorage, for the weather 
seemed lowering ; and after being favoured with some moderate 
days, we could not but expect a share of wind and rain. 

" 29th. This morning the weather looked as if we should be 
repaid for the few fine days which we had enjoyed ; but as we 
felt it necessary to work in bad weather as well as in good, it 
did not prevent the master from setting out on his way to 
Cape Desolation; near which, as a conspicuous headland, whose 
position would be of great consequence, he was to search for a 
harbour, and obtain observations for connecting the survey. 
He could not have been in a finer boat (a whale-boat built by 
Mr. May, at San Carlos) ; and as he well knew what to do with 
her, I did not feel uneasy for his safety, although after his 
departure the wind increased rapidly, and towards evening 
blew a hard gale. The bai'ometer had not given so much warn- 
ing as usual ; but it had been falling gradually since our arrival 
in this harbour, and ct>ntinued to fall. The sympiesometer had 
been more on the alert, and had fallen more rapidly. 

" (30th.) A continued gale, with rain and thick weather 
• A high mountain at'the N.W. end of London Island. 


throughout the clay. During the night the weather became 
rather more moderate ; but on the morning of the 31st, the wind 
again increased to a gale, and towards noon, the williwaws were 
so violent, that our small cutter, lying astern of the ship, was 
fairly capsized, though she had not even a mast standing. The 
ship herself careened, as if under a press of sail, sending all 
loose things to leeward with a general crash (not being secured 
for sea, while moored in so small a cove), but so rapidly did 
these blasts from the mountains pass by, that with a good scope 
of chain out, it was hardly strained to its vitmost before the 
squall was over. While the gale was increasing, in the afternoon, 
the topmasts were struck ; yet still, in the squalls, the vessel 
heeled many strakes when they caught her a-beam. At night 
they followed in such rapid succession, that if the holding- 
ground had not been excellent, and our ground-tackle very 
strong, we must have been driven on the rocks. 

" Under the lee of high land is not the best anchorage in 
these regions. When good holding-ground can be found to 
windward of a height, and low land lies to windward of the 
anchorage, sufficient to break the sea, the place is much to be 
preferred ; because the wind is steady and does not blow home 
against the height. The lee side of these heights is a great deal 
worse than the west side of Gibraltar Rock while the strongest 
Levanter is blowing. 

" Considering that this month corresponds to August in 
our climate, it is natural to compare them, and to think how 
hay and corn would prosper in a Fuegian summer. As yet I 
have found no difference in Tierra del Fuego between summer 
and winter, excepting that in the former the days are longer, and 
the average temperature is perhaps ten degrees higher, but 
there is also then more wind and rain. 

" The gale still continued, and prevented any thing being 
done out of the ship. However safe a cove ]\Ir. Murray might 
have found, his time, I knew, must be passing most irksomely, 
as he could not have moved about since the day he left us. 
He had a week's provisions, but with moderate weather would 
have returned in three days. 



" Feb. 2d. Still very squally and unsettled. This gale began 
at N.N.W., and drew round to S.S.W. Much rain comes 
usually from the N.W. quarter; and as the wind draws south- 
ward, the weather becomes clearer. The squalls from the 
southern quarter bring a great deal of hail with them. 

" 3d. I was enabled to take a round of angles from Horace 
Peaks, over the ship, the sky being clear near the horizon. The 
theodolite had been left near the top since the 28th, each day 
having been too bad to use it. These peaked hills required time 
and exertion in the ascent ; but the wide range of view obtained 
from their summits on a clear day, amply repaid us for both. 
If the height was sufficient, it gave a bird's-eye view of many 
leagues, and showed at a glance where channels lay, which 
were islands, and what was the nature of the surrounding land 
and water. The shattered state of all these peaks is remarkable : 
frost, I think, must be the chief causa 

" After being deceived by the magnetism of Mount Skyring 
and other places, I never trusted the compass on a height, but 
always set up a mark near the water, at some distance, and 
from it obtained the astronomical bearing of my station at the 
summit. This afternoon we prepared the ship to proceed as soon 
as the master should arrive. 

" 4th. Moderate weather. I was surprised that the master 
did not make his appearance ; yet, having full confidence in 
his prudent manageixient, and knowing that he had been all 
the time among islands, upon an^; one of which he could 
haul up his boat and remain in safety during the gales, I did 
not feel much anxiety, but supposed he was staying to take 
the necessary angles and observations, in trhich he had been 
delayed by the very bad weather we had lately experienced. 

" At three this morning (5th), I was called up to hear that 
the whale-boat was lost — stolen by the natives ; and that her 
coxswain and two men had just reached the ship in a clumsy 
canoe, made like a large basket, of wicker-work covered with 
pieces of canvas, and lined with clay, very leaky, and difiicult 
to paddle. They had been sent by the master, who, with the 
other people, was at the cove under Cape Desolation, where 


they stopped on the first day. Their provisions were all con- 
sumed, two-thirds having been stolen with the boat, and the 
return of the natives, to plunder, and perhaps kill them, was 
expected daily. 

" The basket, I cannot call it a canoe, left the Cape (now 
doubly deserving of its name) early on the morning of the 
4th, and worked its way slowly and heavily amongst the 
islands, the men having only one biscuit each with them. They 
paddled all day, and the following night, until two o'clock this 
morning (5th), when in passing the cove where the ship lay, 
they heard one of our dogs bark, and found their way to us 
quite worn out by fatigue and hunger. Not a moment was lost, 
my boat was immediately prepared, and I hastened away with 
a fortnight's provisions for eleven men, intending to relieve the 
master, and then go in search of the stolen boat. The weather 
was rainy, and the wind fresh and squally ; but at eleven o'clock 
I reached the cove, having passed to seaward of the cape, 
and there found Mr. Murray anxiously, but doubtfully, await- 
ing my arrival. My first object, after inquiring into the 
business, was to scrutinize minutely the place where the boat 
had been moored, (for I could not believe that she had been 
stolen ;) but I was soon convinced that she had been well 
secured in a perfectly safe place, and that she must, indeed, 
have been taken away, just before daylight, by the natives. 
Her mast and sails, and part of the provisions were in her ; 
but the men's clothes and the instruments had fortunately been 
landed. It was the usual custom with our boats, when away 
from the ship, to keep a watch at night ; but this place ap- 
peared so isolated and desolate, that such a precaution did 
not seem necessary. Had I been with the boat, I should 
probably have lost her in the same manner ; for I only kept 
a watch when I thovight there was occasion, as I would 
not harass the boat's crew unnecessarily ; and on this exposed 
and sea-beaten island, I should not have suspected that In- 
dians would be found. It appeared that a party of them were 
living in two wigwams, in a little cove about a mile from 
that in which our boat lay, and nmst have seen her arrive ; 


while their wigwams were so hidden as to escape the obser- 
vation of the whale-boat's crew. At two o'clock on the first 
morning, Mr. Murray sent one of the men out of the tent 
to see if the boat rode well at her moorings in the cove, and 
he found her secure. At four another man went to look out, 
but she was then gone. The crew, doubtful what had been 
her fate, immediately spread about the shore of the island to 
seek for traces of her, and in their search they found the wig- 
wams, evidently just deserted : the fire not being extinguished. 
This at once explained the mystery, and some proceeding along 
the shore, others went up on the hills to look for her in the 
offing; but all in vain. The next morning Mr. Murray began 
the basket, which was made chiefly by two of his men out of 
small boughs, and some parts of the tent, with a lining of clayey 
earth at the bottom. Being on an island, about fifteen miles 
from the Beagle, their plan was as necessary as it was inge- 
nious : though certainly something more like a canoe than a 
coracle could have been paddled faster. ' 

" The chronometer, theodolite, and other instruments having 
been saved, Mr. Murray had made observations for fixing the 
position of the place, and had done all that was required before 
I arrived, when they embarked, with their things, in my boat, 
which tlien contained altogether eleven men, a fortnight's 
provisions, two tents,* and clothing ; yet with this load she 
travelled many a long mile, during the following week, a proof 
of the qualities of this five-oared whale-boat, which was also 
built by Mr. Jonathan May, our carpenter, while we were at 
San Carlos. 

" The very first place we went to, a small island about two 
miles distant, convinced us still more decidedly of the fate of our 
lost boat, and gave us hopes of reirieving her ; for near a lately 
used wigwam, we found her mast, part of which had been cut off 
with an axe that was in the boat. Our next point was then to 
be considered, for to chase the thieves I was determined. North 
and east of us, as far as the eye could reach, lay an extensive 

* I carried two tents from the Beagle, theirs having been cut up for 
the basket. 


bay in which were many islands, large and small ; and westward 
was a more connected mass of large islands reaching, apparently, 
to the foot of that grand chain of snowy mountains, which runs 
eastward from the Barbara Channel, and over the midst of 
which Sarmiento proudly towers. I resolved to trace the con- 
fines of the bay, from the west, towards the north and east, 
thinking it probable that the thieves would hasten to some 
secure cove, at a distance, rather than remain upon an outlying 
island, whence their retreat might be cut off. In the evening 
we met a canoe containing two Fuegians, a man and a woman, 
who made us understand, by signs, that several canoes were 
gone to the northward. This raised our hopes, and we pushed 
on. The woman, just mentioned, was the best looking I have 
seen among the Fuegians, and really well-featured : her voice 
was pleasing, and her manner neither so suspicious nor timid 
as that of the rest. Though young she was uncommonly fat, and 
did justice to a diet of limpets and muscles. Both she and 
her husband were perfectly naked. Having searched the coves 
for some distance farther, night came on, and we landed in a 
sheltered spot. 

" The next day (6th), we found some rather doubtful traces 
of the thieves. Towards night it blew a strong gale, with hail- 
squalls and rain. 

*' On the 7th, at a place more than thirty miles E.N.E. 
of Cape Desolation, we fell in with a native family, and on 
searching their two canoes found our boat's lead line. This 
was a prize indeed ; and we immediately took the man who 
had it into our boat, making him comprehend that he must 
show us where the people were, from whom he got it. He 
understood our meaning well enough, and following his guidance 
we reached a cove that afternoon, in which were two canoes full 
of women and children ; but only one old man, and a lad of 
seventeen or eighteen. As usual with the Fuegians, upon 
perceiving us they all ran away into the bvishes, carrying 
off as much of their property as possible — returning again 
naked, and huddling together in a corner. After a minute 
search, some of the boat's gear was found, part of her sail, and 

FIND boat's gear — GUIDES ESCAPE. 395 

an oar, the loom of which had been made into a seal-club, and 
the blade into a paddle. The axe, and the boat's tool-bag were 
also found, which convinced us that this was the resort of those 
who had stolen our boat ; and that the women, six in number, 
were their wives. The men were probabl}' absent, in our boat, 
on a sealing expedition ; as a fine large canoe, made of tir- 
plank, perhaps from the wreck of the Saxe Cobourg, was 
lying on the beach without paddles or spears. She did not 
come there without paddles : and where were the spears of which 
every Fuegian family has plenty .'' It was evident that the men 
of the party had taken them in our boat, and had cut up our 
oars like the one they had accidentally left. The women under- 
stood what we wanted, and made eager signs to explain to us 
where our boat was gone. I did not like to injure them, and 
only took away our own gear, and the young man, who came 
very readily, to show us where our boat was, and, with the 
man who had brought us to the place, squatted down in the boat 
apparently much pleased with some clothes and red caps, which 
were given to them. We had always behaved kindly to the 
Fuegians wherever we met them, and did not yet know how to 
treat them as they deserved, although they had robbed us of 
so great a treasure, upon the recovery or loss of which much 
of the success of our voyage depended. Following the guidance 
of these two natives, we pulled against wind and rain until 
dark, when it became absolutely necessary to secure our boat 
for the night, deeply laden as she was with thirteen people. 
As we were then at a great distance from the place, whence 
we brought the natives, having pulled for four hours along- 
shore, and as they seemed to be quite at their ease, and con- 
tented, I would not secure our guides as prisoners, but allowed 
them to lie by the fire in charge of the man on watch. About 
an hour before daylight, although the look-out man was only 
a few yards distant from the fire, they slipped into the bushes, 
and as it was almost dark were immediately out of sight. Their 
escape was discovered directly, but to search for them during 
darkness, in a thick wood, would have been useless ; besides, 
our men were tired with their day's work, and wanted rest, so 


I would not disturb them until daylight (8th), when we con- 
tinued our search in the direction the natives had indicated ; 
but after examining several coves without finding any traces 
of Fuegians, we hastened back toAvards the wigwams we had 
visited on the previous day. Sailing close along-shore, a large 
smoke suddenly rose up, out of a small cove close by us, where 
we immediately landed, and looked all round ; but found only 
the foot-prints of two Fuegians, probably the runaways, who 
had just succeeded in lighting a fire at the moment we passed 
by. This shows how quickly they find materials for the pvir- 
pose, for when they left us, they had neither iron nor fire-stone 
(pyrites), nor any kind of tinder. They had carried off two 
tarpaulin coats, which Mr. Murray had kindly put on to keep 
them Avarm ; although, treated as he had so lately been, one 
might have thought he would not have been the first to care 
for their comfort. I mention these incidents to show what was 
our behaviour to these savages, and that no wanton cruelty 
was exercised towards them. 

" After looking for these two natives, and for Mr. Murray's 
coats, which at that time he could ill spare, we returned to 
our boat, and pushed on towards the wigwams. The moment 
the inmates saw us, they ran away, and we gave chase, trying, 
in vain, to make them stop. Disappointed in the hope of obtain- 
ing a guide, we determined to prevent these people from escap- 
ing far, and spreading any intelligence likely to impede the 
return of our boat, which we daily expected : we therefore 
destroyed two canoes, and part of a third, that the natives were 
building, and burned every material which could be useful to 
them in making another canoe. 

" (9th). Next day, we went straight across the bay to Cape 
Desolation, against a fresh breeze : by pulling in turns, the 
boat was kept going fast through the water, and late in the 
evening we reached the cove from which the thieves had first 
started, when they stole the boat ; but no traces of their having 
been there again, were found. I thought it probable that they 
would return to see what had become of our party, and whether 
our people were weak enough to be plundered again, or per- 
haps attacked. 


" This idea proving wrong, we retraced (10th) much of 
our former course, because the direction pointed out by the 
Fuegians who ran away from us seemed to lead towards the 
place we now steered for, Courtenay Sound, and was a probable 
line for the thieves to take. During the night it blew a gale 
from the southward, which increased next day (11th), and 
became more and more violent until the morning of the 12th, 
when it abated. 

" We continued our search, however, sometimes under a 
close-reefed sail ; sometimes on our oars, and sometimes scud- 
ding with only the mast up. Although the wind was very 
violent, too strong for a close reefed sail (with four reefs), the 
water was too much confined by islands to rise into a sea, but 
it was blown, as ' spoon drift,' in all directions. This day the 
Beagle had her topmasts and lower yards struck, for the gale 
was extremely heavy where she lay. The barometer foretold it 
very well, falling more than I had previously seen, although the 
wind was southerly. In an exposed anchorage, I do not think 
any vessel could have rode it out, however good the holding 

" 12th. This morning the weather was better, and improving 
fast. We went over much ground without the smallest success, 
and in the afternoon steered to the eastward again, for a third 
visit to the boat stealers' family. As it was late when we ap- 
proached the place, I landed half our party, and with the rest 
went to reconnoitre. After a long search we discovered the 
Indians in a cove, at some distance from that in which they 
were on the previous day ; and having ascertained tliis point, 
taken a good view of the ground, and formed our plans, we 
returned to our companions, and prepared for surprising the 
natives and making them prisoners. My wish was to surround 
them unawares, and take as many as possible, to be kept as 
hostages for the return of our boat, or else to make them show 
us where she was ; and, meanwhile, it was an object to prevent 
any from escaping to give the alarm. 

" 13th. Whether the men belonging to the tribe had re- 
turned during our absence, was uncertain, as we could not. 

398 SEIZE thieves' family. 

without risk of discovery, get near enough to ascertain : but, 
in case we should find them, we went armed, each with a pistol 
or gun, a cutlass, and a piece of rope to secure a prisoner. We 
landed at some distance from the cove, and, leaving two men 
with our boat, crept quietly through the bushes for a long 
distance round, until we were quite at the back of the new wig- 
wams ; then closing gradually in a circle, we reached almost 
to the spot undiscovered ; but their dogs winded us, and all at 
once ran towards us barking loudly. Further concealment was 
impossible, so we rushed on as fast as we could through the 
bushes. At first the Indians began to run away ; but hearing 
us shout on both sides, some tried to hide themselves, by 
squatting under the banks of a stream of water. The foremost 
of our party, Elsmore by name, in jumping across this stream, 
slipped, and fell in just where two men and a woman were con- 
cealed : they instantly attacked him, trying to hold him down 
and beat out his brains with stones ; and before any one could 
assist him, he had received several severe blows, and one eye 
was almost destroyed, by a dangerous stroke near the temple. 
Mr. Murray, seeing the man's danger, fired at one of the Fue- 
gians, who staggered back and let Elsmore escape ; but imme- 
diately recovering himself, picked up stones from the bed of the 
stream, or was supplied with them by those who stood close to 
him, and threw them from each hand with astonishing force and 
precision. His first stone struck the master with much force, 
broke a powder-horn hung round his neck, and nearly knocked 
him backwards : and two others were thrown so truly at the 
heads of those nearest him, that they barely saved themselves by 
dropping down. All this passed in a few seconds, so quick was 
he with each hand : but, poor fellow, it was his last struggle ; 
unfortunately he was mortally wounded, and, throwing one 
more stone, he fell against the bank and expired. After 
some struggling, and a few hard blows, those who tried 
to secrete themselves were taken, but several who ran away 
along the beach escaped : so strong and stout were the females, 
that I, for one, had no idea that it was a woman, whose arms 
I and my coxswain endeavoured to pinion, until I heard some 


one say so. The oldest woman of the tribe was so powerful, 
that two of the strongest men of our party could scarcely pull 
her out from under the bank of the stream. The man who was 
shot was one of those whom we had taken in the boat as a guide, 
and the other was among our prisoners. Mr. Murray''s coats 
"Were found in the wigwams divided into wrappers to throw 
over the shoulders. We embarked the Indians (two men, three 
women, and six children), and returned to the spot where we 
had passed the preceding night. One man who escaped was a 
one-eyed man Ave had seen before ; he was more active than 
any, and soon out of our reach. Two or three others escaped 
with him, whom 1 did not see distinctly. 

" That a life should have been lost in the struggle, I lament 
deeply ; but if the Fuegian had not been shot at that moment, 
his next blow might have killed Elsmore, who was almost 
under water, and more than half stunned, for he had scarcely 
sense to struggle away, upon feeling the man's grasp relax. 
When fairly embarked, and before we asked any questions, the 
natives seemed very anxious to tell us where our boat was ; 
but pointed in a direction quite opposite to that which they 
had previously shown us. We guarded them carefully through 
the night, and next morning (14th) set out upon our return to 
the Beagle, with twenty-two souls in the boat. My object was, 
to put them in security on board, run down the coast with 
the ship to some harbour more to the eastward, and then set 
out again upon another search ; carrying some of my prisoners 
as guides, and leaving the rest on board to ensure the former 
remaining, and not deceiving us. We made tolerable progress, 
though the boat was so over-loaded, and on the 15th reached 
the Beagle with our living cargo. In our way we fell in with 
a family of natives, whose wigwams and canoes we searched ; 
but finding none of our property, we left them not only 
vmmolested, but gave them a few things, which in their eyes 
were valuable. 

" This conduct appeared to surprise our prisoners, who, as 
far as we could make out, received a wholesome lecture, instead 


of assistance, from the strangers. At all events, when they 
parted, our passengers were as discontented as the others were 
cheerful. When Ave got on board, we fed our prisoners with 
fat pork and shell-fish, which they liked better than any thing 
else, and clothed them with old blankets.* 

" Next morning (16th) we weighed, and sailed along the 
coast towards Cape Castlereagh, at the east side of Desolate 
Bay. Many straggling rocks and rocky islets were observed 
lying off' Cape Desolation and in the Bay. That afternoon, we 
stood into a narrow opening, which appeared to be the outlet 
of a harbour close to Cape Castlereagh, and found a very good 
anchorage, well suited for the purposes both of continuing the 
survey and looking for the lost boat. 

" (17th.) The master and I, with the cutter and a whale- 
boat, set out upon a second chase, taking a week's provisions. 
In the first cove I searched, not two miles from the Beagle, I 
found a piece of the boat's lead-line, which had been left in a 
lately deserted wigwam. This raised our hopes ; and, in addi- 
tion to the signs made by our prisoners, convinced us we were 
on the right track. 

" I took with me a young man as a guide, and in the cutter 
the master carried the two stoutest of the women, having 
left all the rest of our prisoners on board. As far as we could 
make out, they appeared to understand perfectly that their 
safety and future freedom depended upon their showing us 
where to find the boat. 

" We intended to go round the Stewart Islands ; and after 
examining many coves, and finding signs that a party of natives 
had passed along the same route within the last two days, we 
stopped in a sheltered place for the night. Having given 
our prisoners as much food as they could eat, muscles, lim- 
pets, and pork, we let them lie down close to the fire, all three 
together. I would not tie them, neither did I think it necessary 
to keep an unusual watch, supposing that their children being 

It afterwards appeared that we had taken the families of the very 
men who stole the boat from Mr. Murray. 


left in our vessel was a security for the mothers far stronger 
than rope or iron. I kept watch myself during the first part 
of the night, as the men were tired by pulling all day, and 
incautiously allowed the Fuegians to lie between the fire and 
the bushes, having covered them up so snugly, with old blan- 
kets and my own poncho, that their bodies were entirely hid- 
den. About midnight, while standing on the opposite side of 
the fire, looking at the boats, with my back to the Fuegians, 
I heard a rustling noise, and turned round ; but seeing the 
heap of blankets unmoved, satisfied me, and I stooped down to 
the fire to look at my watch. At this moment, another rustle, 
and my dog jumping up and barking, told me that the natives 
had escaped. Still the blankets looked the same, for they were 
artfully propped up by bushes. All our party began imme- 
diately to search for them ; but as the night was quite dark, 
and there was a thick wood close to us, our exertions were 

" Believing that we could not be far from the place where the 
natives supposed our boat to be, I thought that they would 
go directly and warn their people of our approach ; and as the 
island was narrow, though long, a very little travelling would 
take tliem across to the part they had pointed out to us, while 
it might take a boat a considerable time to go round ; I there- 
fore started immediately to continue the search in that direction, 
and left the master to examine every place near our tents. 

" In the afternoon of the same day I returned to him, having 
traversed a long extent of coast without finding an outlet to 
sea-ward, or any traces of the lost boat. Meanwhile Mr. Mur- 
ray had searched every place near our bivouac without success ; 
but he found the spot where the Fuegians had concealed them- 
selves during the night, under the roots of a large tree, only a 
dozen vards from our fire. 

" As it was possible that the thieves might have returned to 
the place whence we had taken the natives, I desired the mas- 
ter to cross the soimd and go there, and afterwards return to 
meet me, while I continued the search eastward. With a fair 
and fresh wind I made a good run that evening, found a pas- 

VOL. I. 2d 


sage opening to the sea,* and a wigwam just deserted. Here was 
cause for hope ; and seeing, beyond the passage, some large 
islands lying to seaward of that which we had been coasting, it 
appeared probable that our boat had been taken there for seal- 
fishing. Our prisoners had given us to understand plainly 
enough that such was the object of those who had stolen her, 
and outlying islands were the most likely to be visited, as on 
them most seal are found. 

" Next day (19th) I passed over to Gilbert Island, and in 
a cove found such recent marks of natives, that I felt sure of 
coming up with the chase in the course of the day. When the 
Fuegians stop anywhere, tliey generally bark a few trees, to 
repair their canoes or cover their wigwams ; but those whose 
traces we were following, had made long journeys without 
stopping ; and, where they did stay, barked no trees, whicli 
was one reason for supposing them to be the party in our boat. 
In the course of the day we pulled nearly round the islands, -j- 
looking into every cove. 

" On the 20th, we discovered three small canoes Avith their 
owners in a cove.]: All the men ran away, except two. As we 
saw that there were no more persons than the canoes required, 
we did not try to catch them, knowing that this could not be 
the party we were in search of. We had now examined every 
nook and corner about these islands, and I began to give up 
all hope of finding our boat in this direction. Having no clue 
to guide me farther, and much time having been lost, I re- 
luctantly decided to return to the Beagle. Our only re- 
maining hope, that the master might have met with the boat, 
was but very feeble. 

" (21st.) All this day we were pulling to the westward, to 
regain the Beagle. At night-fall I met Mr. Murray, with the 
cutter, in the cove where I had appointed a rendezvous. He had 
not found any signs of the boat upon the opposite shore, and 
therefore returned ; but he saw the people who had escaped 
from us when we surprised the whole family. They fled as 
soon as his boat was seen. Leaving, therefore, three men to 
* Adventure Passage. + Gilbert Islands. I Doris Cove. 

Feb. 1830. more disappointment. 403 

watch in the bushes, he stood out to sea in the boat ; and the 
stratagem succeeded sufficiently to enable our men to get very 
near to the natives, but not to catch any of them. One old man 
squinted very much, and in other respects exactly answered 
the description of a Fuegian who ill-treated some of the Saxe- 
Cobourg's crew, when they were cast away in Fury Harbour. 
I wish we could have secured him ; but he was always on the 
alert, and too nimble for our people. In their canoe, which was 
taken, was found the sleeve of Mr. Murray's tarpaulin coat, a 
proof that these people belonged to the tribe which had stolen 
our boat. The canoe was a wretchedly patched affair, evidently 
put together in a great hurry. 

" Next morning (22d) the master and I set out on our return 
to the Beagle ; but seeing a great smoke on the opposite shore, 
in Thieves' Sound, I thought it must be made by the offen- 
ders, who, having returned and found their home desolate, 
were making signals to discover where their family was gone: 
sending the cutter therefore on board, I pulled across the sound 
towards the smoke. As the distance was long, and the wind 
fresh against us, it was late before I arrived ; yet the smoke 
rose as thickly as ever, exciting our expectations to the utmost : 
— but, to our disappointment, not a living creature could be 
seen near the fire, nor could any traces of natives be found. 
The fire must have been kindled in the morning, and as the 
weather was dry, had continued to burn all day. 

" We were then just as much at a loss as ever, for probably 
(if that was the party), they had seen us, and would, for the 
future, be doubly watchful. At first we had a chance of com- 
ing upon them unawares, but the time for that had passed : 
every canoe in the sound had been examined, and all its inha- 
bitants knew well what we were seeking;. 

" It blew too strong, and it was too late, to recross Whale- 
boat Sound that night, so I ascended a height to look round. 
Next morning (23d) we again searched many miles of the 
shores of Thieves' Sound without anv success ; and afterAvards 
sailed across to Ste\A^art Harbour. We reached the Beadle in 
the evening, but found that all the othei- pi'isoners, excepting 

2d 2 


three children, had escaped by swimming asliore during the 
preceding night. Thus, after much trouble and anxiety, much 
valuable time lost, and as fine a boat of her kind as ever was 
seen being stolen from us by these savages, I found myself 
with three young children to take care of, and no prospect what- 
ever of recovering the boat. It was very hard work for the 
boats' crews, for during the first ten days we had incessant 
rainy weather, with gales of wind ; and though the last few 
days had been uncommonly fine, the men's exertions in pulling 
about among the coves, and in ascending hills, had been ex- 
tremely fatiguing. 

" While the bad weather lasted, the men's clothes were seldom 
dry, either by day or night. Frequently they were soaked by 
rain during the greater part of the day, and at night they were 
in no better condition ; for although a large fire (when made) 
might dry one side, the other as quickly became wet. Obliged, 
as we were, to pitch our small tent close to the water in order 
to be near our boat ; — and because every other place was either 
rocky or covered with wood; — we were more than once awakened 
out of a sound sleep by finding that we were lying partly in 
the water, the night-tide having risen very much above that 
of the preceding day : although the tides should have been at 
that time ' taking off"' (diminishing). 

" Sometimes extreme difficulty was found in lighting a fire, 
because every thing was saturated with moisture ; and hours 
have been passed in vain attempts, while every one was shiver- 
ing with cold, — having no shelter from the pouring rain, — and 
after having been cramped in a small boat during the whole 

" In Courtenay Sound I saw many nests of shags (corvo- 
rants) among the branches of trees near the water : until then, 
I had understood that those birds usually, if not invariably, 
built their nests on the ground or in cliffs. 

" Much time had certainly been spent in this search, yet it 
ought not to be considered as altogether lost. Mr. Stokes had 
been hard at work during my absence, making plans of the 
harbours, and taking observations, and I am happy to say, that 

Feb. 1830. NATURE OF COAST — NATIVES. 405 

I had reason to place great confidence in his work, for he had 
always taken the utmost pains, and had been most careful. My 
wanderings had shown me that from the apparent sea coast 
to the base of that snowy chain of mountains which runs east- 
ward from the Barbara Channel, there is much more water 
than land, and that a number of islands, lying near together, 
form the apparently connected coast ; within which a wide 
sound-like passage extends, opening in places into bays and 
gulfs, where islands, islets, rocks and breakers, are very 
numerous. These waters wash the foot of the snowy chain 
which forms a continued barrier from the Barbara Channel to 
the Strait of Le Maire. This cruise had also given me more 
insight into the real character of the Fuegians, than I had 
then acquired by other means, and gave us all a severe warn- 
ing which might prove very useful at a future day, when 
among; more numerous tribes who would not be contented 
with a boat alone. Considering the extent of coast we had 
already examined, we ought to be thankful for having expe- 
rienced no other disaster of any kind, and for having had the 
means of replacing this loss. 

" I became convinced that so long as we were ignorant of the 
Fuegian language, and the natives were equally ignorant of 
ours, we should never know much about them, or the interior 
of their country ; nor would there be the slightest chance of 
their being raised one step above the low place which they then 
held in our estimation. Their words seemed to be short, but 
to have many meanings, and their pronunciation was harsh 
and guttural. 

" Stewart Harbour, in which the Beagle remained during 
the last boat cruise, proved to be a good one, and, having 
three outlets, may be entered or quitted with any wind, and 
without warping. Wood and water are as abundant as in other 
Fuegian harbours ; and it may be easily known by the remark- 
able appearance of Cape Castlereagh, which is on the island 
that shelters the anchorage from the S.W. wind and sea. The 
outlets are narrow, and can only be passed with a leading wind ; 
but if one does not serve, another will answer. It should be 


noticed, that there are two rocks nearly in the middle of the 
harbour, which are just awash at high water. A heavy swell 
is generally found outside, oAving to the comparatively shallow 
water, in which there are soundings to about three miles from 
the Cape. In the entrances are from ten to twenty fathoms, 
therefore if the wind should baffle, or fail, an anchor may be 
dropped at any moment. 

" In my last search among the Gilbert Islands, I found a 
good harbour for shipping, conveniently situated for carrying 
on the survey, in a place which otherwise I should certainly 
have overlooked : and to that harbour I decided on proceeding. 
" For two miles to the eastward of Stewart Hai'bour, the 
shore projects, and is rocky and broken, then it retreats, 
forming a large bay, in which are the Gilbert Islands, and 
many rocky islets. We passed between Gilbert and Stewart 
Islands, anchored at noon under a point at the west entrance 
of the passage, and in the afternoon moved the Beagle to Doris 
Cove, and there moored her. 

" I had decided to build another boat as quickly as possible, 
for I found it so much the best way to anchor the vessel in a 
safe place and then work with the boats on each side, that 
another good one was most necessary. Our cutter required 
too manv men, and was neither so handy, nor could she pull to 
windward so well as a whale-boat ; and our small boat was 
only fit for harbour duty. The weather on this coast was gene- 
rally so thick and blowing, as not to admit of any thing like 
exact surveying while the vessel was under sail : the swell 
alone being usually too high to allow of a bearing being taken 
within six or eight degrees : and the sun we seldom saw. If 
caught by one of the very frequent gales, we might have been 
blown so far to the eastward that I know not how much time 
would have been lost in trying to regain our position. These 
coasts, which are composed of islands, allow boats to go a long 
distance in safety, and, from the heights near the sea, rocks 
and breakers may be seen, and their places ascertained, much 
better than can possibly be done at sea. For building a new 
boat we had all the materials on board, except prepared plank ; 

Putilislied by Hcrrry ColbLLm.U.GrflatMarrooToufiliStreei.1839 


and for this we cut up a spare spar, which was intended to 
supply the place of a defective or injured lower mast or bow- 
sprit. With reluctance this fine spar, which had been the 
Doris''s main-topmast, was condemned to the teeth of the saw ; 
but I felt certain that the boat Mr. May would produce from 
it, would be valuable in any part of the world, and that for our 
voyage it Avas indispensable. 

" Profiting by a clear day, I went to a height in the neigh- 
bourhood, whence I could see to a great distance in-shore, as 
well as along the coast, and got a view of Mount Sarmiento. 
While away from the Beagle, in search of the lost boat, we 
had enjoyed four succeeding days of fine weather, during which 
that noble mountain had been often seen by our party. The 
astronomical bearing of its summit was very useful in con- 
necting this coast survey with that of the Strait of Magal- 

" 25th and 26th. Mr. Murray went to the S. W. part of the 
island, taking three days' provisions. Mr. Stokes and I were 
employed near the ship, while every man who could use car- 
penter's tools was occupied in preparing materials for our new 
boat. The rock near here is greenstone, in which are many 
veins of pyrites. Specimens are deposited in the museum of 
the Geological Society. 

" 28th. Weighed, warped to windward, and made sail out 
of Adventure Passage. I was veiy anxious to reach Christmas 
Sound, because it seemed to me a good situation for the Beagle, 
while the boats could go east and west of her, and the new 
boat might be built. Running along the land, before a fresh 
breeze, we soon saw York Minster, and in the evening entered 
Christmas Sound, and anchored in the very spot where the 
Adventure lay when Cook was here. His sketch of the sound, 
and description of York Minster, are very good, and quite 
enough to guide a ship to the anchoring place. I fancied that 
the high part of the Minster must have crumbled away since 
he saw it, as it no longer resembled ' two towers,' but had a 
ragged, notched summit, when seen from the westward. It was 
some satisfaction to find ourselves at anchor at this spot in 

408 eooK — MARCH HARBOUR. Marcli 1830. 

February, notwithstanding the vexatious delays we had so 
often experienced. 

" As we had not sufficiently examined the coast between this 
sound and Gilbert Islands, I proposed sending Mr. Murray 
there with the cutter, while I should go to the eastward, during 
which time our new boat would be finished. 

" 1st March. This morning I went to look for a better 
anchorage for our vessel, that in which we lay being rather 
exposed, and very small. Neither Pickersgill Cove nor Port 
Gierke suited ; so I looked further, and found another harbourj 
nearer to York Minster, easier of access for a ship arriving 
from sea, and with a cove in, one corner where a vessel could 
lie in security, close to a woody point. Having sounded this 
harbour, 1 returned to move our ship, Gook says, speaking 
of Port Gierke, ' South of this inlet is another, which I did 
not examine :"■ — and into that inlet, named March Harbour, 
the Beagle prepared to go, but before we could weigh and 
work to windward, the weather became bad, which made our 
passage round the N.W. end of Shag Island rather difficult, 
as we had to contend with squalls, rain, and a narrow passage 
between rocks. The passage between Waterman Island and 
the south end of Shag Island is more roomy ; but there is a 
rock near the middle which had not then been examined. 
We worked up to the innermost part of the harbour, and 
moored close to a woody point, in the most sheltered cove. 
Finding this to be a very convenient spot for building our 
boat, and in every point of view a good place for passing part 
of the month of March, I decided to keep the Beagle here for 
that purpose. This harbour might be useful to other vessels, 
its situation being well pointed out by York Minster (one of 
the most remarkable promontories on the coast), and affiarding 
wood and water with as little trouble as any place in which the 
Beagle had anchored. 

" March 2d. The master set out in the large cutter, with 
a fortnight's provisions, to examine the coast between the north 
part of Christmas Sound and Point Alikhoohp, near which 
we passed on the 28th, without seeing much of it. With 

March 1830. fuegians — york minster. 409 

moderate weather and a little sunshine, he might have been 
expected to return in a week or ten days. He carried a chrono- 
meter and other necessai'y instruments. Two of the three chil- 
dren, left by their mother at Stewart Harbour, I sent with 
Mr. Murray, to be left with any Fuegians he might find 
most to the westward, whence they would soon find their friends. 
The third, who was about eight years old, was still with us : 
she seemed to be so happy and healthy, that I determined to 
detain her as a hostage for the stolen boat, and try to teach her 
English. Lieutenant Kempe built a temporary house for the 
carpenters, and other workmen, near the ship and the spot 
chosen for observations, so that all our little establishment was 
close together. The greater part of the boat's materials being 
already prepared, she was not expected to be long in build- 
ing, under the able direction and assistance of Mr. May. 

"3d. Some Fuegians in a canoe approached us this morning, 
seeming anxious to come on board. I had no wish for their 
company, and was sorry to see that they had found us out ; 
for it was to be expected that they would soon pay us nightly 
as well as daily visits, and steal every thing left within their 
reach. Having made signs for them to leave us, without effect, 
I sent Mr. Wilson to drive them away, and fire a pistol over 
their heads, to frighten them. They then went back, but only 
round a point of land near the ship ; so I sent the boat again 
to drive them out of the harbour, and deter them from paying 
us another visit. Reflecting, while Mr. Wilson was following 
them, that by getting one of these natives on board, there 
would be a chance of his learning enough English to be an 
interpreter, and that by his means we might recover our lost 
boat, I resolved to take the youngest man on board, as he, in 
all probability, had less strong ties to bind him to his people 
than others who were older, and might have families. With 
these ideas I went after them, and hauling their canoe alongside 
of my boat, told a young man to come into it ; he did so, 
quite unconcernedly, and sat down, apparently contented 
and at his ease. The others said nothing, either to me or 
to him, but paddled out of the harbour as fast as they could. 

410 NATURE OF TIERllA DEL FUEGO. March 1830. 

They seemed to belong to tlie same tribe as those we had last 

" 4th. This afternoon our boat''s keel Avas laid down, and 
her moulds were set up. Fuegia Basket * told ' York Min- 
ster' -f- all her story ; at some parts of which he laughed 
heartily. Fuegia, cleaned and dressed, was much improved in 
appearance : she was already a pet on the lower deck, and 
appeared to be quite contented. York Minster was sullen at 
first, yet his appetite did not fail ; and whatever he received 
moi'e than he could eat, he stowed away in a corner ; but as 
soon as he was well cleaned and clothed, and allowed to go 
about where he liked in the vessel, he became much more 

" At Cape Castlereagh and the heights over Doris Cove in 
Gilbert Island, the rock seemed to contain so much metal, that 
I spent the greater part of one day in trying experiments on 
pieces of it, with a blowpipe and mercury. By pounding and 
washing I separated about a tea-spoonful of metal from a piece 
of rock (taken at random) the size of a small cup. I put the 
powder by carefully, with some specimens of the rock — think- 
ing that some of these otherwise barren mountains might be 
rich in metals. It would not be in conformity with most other 
parts of the world were the tract of mountainous islands com- 
posing the Archipelago of Tierra del Fuego condemned to in- 
ternal as well as external unprofitableness. From the nature of 
the climate agriculture could seldom succeed ; and perhaps no 
quadrupeds fit for man's use, except goats and dogs, could 
thrive in it : externally too, the land is unfit for the use of 
civilized man. In a few years its shores will be destitute of seal: 
and then, what benefit will be derived from it ? — unless it 
prove internally rich, not in gold or silver, but perhaps in 
copper, iron, or other metals. 

" 5th. This day all hands were put on full allowance, our 
savings since we left San Carlos having; secured a sufficient 

* So called in remembrance of the basket-like canoe by which we 
received intellig'ence of the loss of our boat, 
t The man 1 took out of the canoe. 

March 1830. treachebous rocks. 411 

stock of provisions to last more than the time allotted for the 
the remainder of our solitary cruise. 

" By using substitutes for the mens' shoes, made of sealskin, 
we secured enough to last as long as we should want them- 
I have never mentioned the state of our sick list, because it 
was always so trifling. There had been very little doing in 
the surgeon's department ; nothing indeed of consequence, 
since Mr. Murray dislocated his shoulder. 

" The promontory of York Minster is a black irregularly- 
shaped rocky cliff, eight hundred feet in height, rising almost 
perpendicularly from the sea. It is nearly the loftiest as well 
as the most projecting part of the land about Christmas Sound, 
which, generally speaking, is not near so high as that further 
Avest, but it is very barren. Granite is prevalent, and I could 
find no sandstone. Coming from the westward, we thought the 
heights about here inconsiderable ; but Cook, coming from the 
South Sea, called them ' high and savage.' Had he made the 
land nearer the Barbara Channel, where the mountains are much 
higher, he would have spoken still more strongly of the wild 
and disagreeable appearance of the coast, 

" 6th. During the past night it blew very hard, making our 
vessel jerk her cables with unusual violence, though we had a 
good scope out, and the water was perfectly smooth. We saw 
that the best bower-anchor had been dragged some distance, it 
Avas therefore hove to the bows when its stock was found to be 
broken, by a rock, in the midst of good ground, having caught 
the anchor. It had been obtained at San Carlos from a mer- 
chant brig, but being much too light for our vessel, had been 
woulded round with chains to give it weight : its place was 
taken by a frigate's stream-anchor, well made and well tried, 
which I had procured from Valparaiso.* In shifting our berth, 
the small bower chain was found to be so firmly fixed round 
another rock that for several hours we could not clear it. Such 
rocks as these are very treacherous and not easily detected, 
except by sweeping the bottom with a line and weights. A very 

It had formerly belong-ed to H.M.S, Doris, which was condemned at 
Valparaiso; being unserviceable. 


heavy squall, with lightning and thunder, passed over the ship 
this afternoon, depressing the sympiesometer more than I had 
ever witnessed. Very heavy rain followed. 

" 8th. In the forenoon I was on a height taking angles, when 
a large smoke was made by natives on a point at the entrance 
of the harbour ; and at my return on board the ship, I found 
that two canoes had been seen, which appeared to be full of 
people. Supposing that they were strangers, I went in a 
small boat with two men to see them, and find out if they pos- 
sessed any thing obtained from our lost whale-boat, for I 
thought it probable she might have been taken along the coast 
eastward, to elude our pursuit. I found them in a cove very 
near where our carpenters were at work. They had just landed, 
and were breaking bouglis from the trees. I was sui-prised to 
see rather a large party, about fourteen in number, all of whom 
seemed to be men, except two women who were keeping the 
canoes. They wanted me to go to them, but I remained at a 
little distance, holding up bits of iron and knives, to induce 
them to come to me, for on the water we were less unequal to 
them. They were getting very bold and threatening in their 
manner, and I think would have tried to seize me and my boat, 
had not Lieutenant Kempe come into the cove with six men in 
the cutter, when their manner altered directly, and they began 
to consult together. They were at this time on a rock rising 
abruptly from the water, and the canoes, which I wanted to 
search, were at the foot of the rock. Under such local disad- 
vantages I could not persevere without arms, for they had 
stones, slings, and spears, ready in their hands. Lieutenant 
Kempe and myself then returned on board for arms and more 
men, for I resolved to drive them out of the harbour, as it was 
absolutely necessary. Already they, or their countrymen, had 
robbed us of a boat, and endangered the lives of several per- 
sons ; and had they been allowed to remain near us, the loss of 
that part of another boat which was already built would have 
followed, besides many things belonging to the carpenters and 
armourer, which they were using daily on shore. 

" Another motive for seai'ching the canoes, arose from see- 

March 1830., skirmish with natives. 413 

ing so many men without women, for I concluded that some of 
the whale-boat thieves were among them, who, having seen our 
cutter go to the westward full of people, might suppose we had 
not many left on board : one boat's crew, as they perhaps ima- 
gined, being left on an island, and another away in search of 
them. They had hitherto seen only merchant-vessels on this 
coast, and judging of the number of a crew by them, might 
think there could not be many persons on board, and that the 
vessel would be easy to take. At all events they came prepared 
for war, being much painted, wearing white bands on their 
heads, carrying their slings and spears, and having left all 
their children and dogs, with most of their women, in some 
other place. 

" Two boats being manned and armed, I went with Lieut. 
Kempe and Mr. Wilson to chase the Fuegians, who were pad- 
dling towards another part of the harbour. Seeing the boats 
approaching, they landed and got on the top of a rock, leaving 
the canoes underneath with the two women. From their manner 
I saw they were disposed to be hostile, and we therefore ap- 
proached leisurely. Their canoes being within our reach, I 
told the bowman to haul one alongside that we might search 
it ; but no sooner did his boathook touch it, than a shower of 
stones of all sizes came upon us, and one man was knocked 
down, apparently killed, by the blow of a large stone on the 
temple. We returned their volley with our fire-arms, but I 
believe without hitting one of them. Stones and balls continued 
to be exchanged till the cutter came to our assistance. The 
Fuegians then got behind a rock, where we could not see them? 
and kept close. Their canoes we took, and finding in them 
some bottles* and part of our lost boat's gear, we destroyed 
them. The man of my crew who was knocked down by a stone 
was only stunned, and soon recovered, but the blow was very 
severe and dangerous. Not choosing to risk any further injury 
to our people, and seeing no object to be gained, I would not 
land, though our numbers were much superior, and we had fire- 

• Mr. Murray had some bottles of beer in his boat — besides those in 
which the men's allowance of spirits was kept. 

414) NATIVES DISPERSED. March 1830, 

arms. It appeared that the savages knew of no alternative but 
escape or death, and that in trying to take them they would 
certainly do material injury to some of our party with their 
spears, stones, or large knives made of pieces of iron hoops. 
Remaining therefore Avith Lieut. Kempe, in the cutter, to watch 
their motions, I sent my boat on board with the man who was 
hurt. The Fuegians made their escape separately through the 
bushes, and were quickly out of sight and reach : we fired a 
few shots to frighten them, watched their retreat over the barren 
upper part of the hills, and then went to look for their wig- 
wams, which could not be far distant, as I thought ; but after 
unsuccessfully searching all the coves near us, a smoke was 
seen at the opposite side of the sound, on one of the Whittle- 
bury islands ; so concluding it was made by the rest of their 
tribe, and being late, I returned on board. 

" 9th. At daylight, next morning, I went to look for the 
wigwams, on the Whittlebury Islands, at the north side of 
the sound : we saw their smoke when we were half-way across, 
but no longer. The natives had probably seen us, and put 
out their fire directly, well knowing the difference between our 
boat and their own canoes, and noticing her coming from a 
part of tlie sound distant from the point whence they would 
expect their own people, and crossing over against a fresh 
breeze, which a canoe could not attempt to do. The wig- 
wams were entirely deserted, and almost every thing was taken 
away; but near tlieir huts a piece of ' King's white line,' quite 
new, was picked up; therefore our boat* had been there, or 
these were some of the people who stole her. For the late 
inmates of the wigwams we searched in vain — only their dogs 
remained, they themselves being hidden. Looking round on the 
other side of that islet, we saw two canoes paddling right 
away from the islands, though it was blowing a fresh breeze, 
and a considerable sea was running. Knowing, from the place 
they were in, and their course, that they were the fugitives from 
the wigwams, we gave chase, and came up with them before 

• In the lost boat were several pieces of spare line, ' King's white 
line,' quite new. 

March 1830. captive — strength and bravery. 415 

they could land, but so close to the shore that while securing 
one canoe, the other escaped. From that which we seized a 
young man and a girl jumped overboard, deserting an old 
woman and a child, whom we left in order to chase the young 
man ; but he was so active in the water that it was fully a 
quarter of an hour before we could get him into our boat. 
Having at last secured him, we followed the others, but they 
had all landed and hidden, so we returned across the sound 
with our captive. In our way a smoke was seen in a cove of 
Waterman Island, and knowing that it must be made by 
those who escaped us yesterday, as there were no other natives 
there, we made sail for it ; but the rogues saw us, and put out 
their fire. When we reached the spot, however, we found two 
wigwams just built, and covered with bark ; so that there 
they had passed the night after their skirmish. I would not 
let any one land, as the Fuegians might be lurking in the 
bushes, and might be too much for two or three of us on 
shore, — ^but left the place. They would tliink us gone for more 
boats, as at the former meeting, and would shift their quarters 
immediately ; so by thus harassing them, I hoped to be freed 
from any more of their visits while we remained in the neigh- 

" The bodily strength of these savages is very great (' York 
Minster' is as strong as any two of our stoutest men), which, 
with their agility, both on shore and in the water, and their 
quickness in attack and defence with stones and sticks, makes 
them difficult to deal with when out of their canoes. They are 
a brave, hardy race, and fight to the last struggle ; though in 
the manner of a wild beast, it must be owned, else they would 
not, when excited, defy a whole boat's crew, and, single- 
handed, try to kill the men ; as I have witnessed. That kind- 
ness towards these beings, and good treatment of them, is as 
yet useless, I almost think, both from my own experience and 
from much that I have heard of their conduct to seaUng ves- 
sels. Until a mutual understanding can be established, moral 
fear is the only means by which they can be kept peaceable. 
As they see only vessels which when their boats are away have 

416 BOAT MEMORY — PETREL. March 1830. 

but a few people on board, their idea of the power of Euro- 
peans is very poor, and tlieir dread of fire arms not nearly so 
great as might be imagined. 

" From this cove we returned to the Beagle. My Fuegian 
captive, whom I named ' Boat Memory,' seemed frightened, 
but not low-spirited ; he eat enormously, and soon fell fast 
asleep. The meeting between him and York Minster was very 
tame, for, at first, they would not appear to recognise or speak 
to each other. ' Boat' Avas the best-featured Fuegian I had 
seen, and being young and well made, was a very favourable 
specimen of the race : ' York' was one of the stoutest men I had 
observed among them ; but little Fuegia was almost as broad 
as she was high : she seemed to be so merry and happy, that I 
do not think slie would willingly have quitted us. Three natives 
of Tierra del Fuego, better suited for the purpose of instruc- 
tion, and for giving, as well as receiving information, could 
not, I think, have been found. 

" 10th. This morning, having been well cleaned and dressed, 
' Boat' appeared contented and easy ; and being together, kept 
York and him in better spirits than they would probably other- 
wise have been, for they laughed, and tried to talk, by imi- 
tating whatever was said. Fuegia soon began to learn English, 
and to say several things very well. She laughed and talked 
with her countrymen incessantly. 

" 12th. Some evenings, at dusk, I observed large flights of 
birds, of the petrel kind, skimming over the sea (like swallows), 
as if in chase of insects. These birds were black, about the size 
of a ' Cape Pigeon.' We tried to shoot one, but did not suc- 


Mr. Murray returns — Go to New Year Sound— See Dieso Ramirez 
Islands from Henderson Island — Weddell's Indian Cove — Syrapie- 
someter — Return to Christmas Sound — Beagle sails — Passes the Ilde- 
fonso and Diego Ramirez Islands — Anchors in Nassau Bay — Orange 
Ba)' — Yapoos — Mr. Murray discovers the Beagle Channel — Numerous 
Natives— rGuanacoes — Compasses affected — Cape Horn — Specimens' — 
Chanticleer — Mistake about St. Francis Bay — Diego Ramirez Islands 
Climate — San Joachim Cove — Barnevelt Isles — Evouts Isle — Lennox 

"14th. This morning the master returned, havuig succeeded 
in tracing the coast far enough to join our former work, 
although the weather had been very unfavourable. He met 
with many Fuegians, most of whom were armed with slings, 
spears, and cutting weapons made with pieces of iron hoop 
fastened on a stick. They were very troublesome, especially 
at night, and obliged him to keep them at a distance. Their 
respect for a musket was not so great as might have been 
expected, and unless they saw it tolerably close, and pointed 
directly at them, they cared not. The boat''s crew bought some 
fish from them, for buttons and other trifles. From forty to 
fifty men, besides women and children , were seen in one place 
alone ; and many were met elsewhere. 

" Mr. Murray penetrated nearly to the base of the snow- 
covered mountains, which extend to the eastward in an unbro- 
ken chain, and ascertained that there are passages leading 
from Christmas Sound to the large bay where the whale-boat 
was stolen ; and that they run near the foot of the mountains. 
He also saw a channel leading farther to the eastward than 
eye-sight could reach, whose average width seemed to be about 
a mile. He left the two children in charge of an old woman 
whom they met near the, westernmost part which his party 
reached, who appeared to know them well, and to be very 
much pleased at having them placed in her care. 

"15th. Raining and blowing : — as usual, I might say. When 
VOL. I. 2 E 


it moderated I left the Beagle, and set out in a boat with Mr. 
Wilson (mate), taking a fortnight's provisions ; though I hoped 
to be again on board in less than ten days, by which time our 
new boat would be finished, and Mr, Stokes, as well as Mr. 
Murray, would have laid down his last work. My object was 
to go eastward towards Indian Sound and Nassau Bay, but the 
weather soon stopped our progress, and obliged us to put into 
a small cove on the west side of Point Nativity, where we 
hoped to get shelter from the increasing wind, though not 
from the rain, which poured down in torrents. The cove 
proved to be much exposed, but we staid there till daylight 
on the following morning, when we pulled out, and round the 
point to the eastward, gladly enough, for we had been in a bad 
berth during the night, exposed to wind and rain, besides 
swell. We ran along the land, with a moderate westerly wind, 
stopped for a time near Cape Rolle, the point of land next to 
Weddell's ' Hope Island ;■■ and in the evening went into some 
openings among the adjacent islands. 

" 17th. At daylight we set out again, and ran along-shore 
with a fresh west wind, ci-ossed the mouth of a bay which 
seemed likely to afford shelter, but did not then delay to look 
at it closely. Soon after noon we passed Weddell's 'Leading 
Hill,' which is a very singular double-peaked height, con- 
spicuous from a long distance, and remarkable in every point 
of view. Between it and Black Point (a projecting craggy 
rock) lies a bay or sound, which appears to extend some distance 
northward. This part of the coast is bad for vessels to close 
with, being much broken, and having several rocky islets scat- 
tered near it ; but two miles off shore there is no danger. 
Having found a secure cove near Leading Hill, we landed, 
and the men set up our tent, while Mr. Wilson and I ascended 
the heights to look round. The wind soon freshened to a 
gale, and made us rejoice at having reached a sheltered place. 
" 18th. The whole of this day was lost by us, for it blew a 
strong gale with continual rain. Collecting limpets and mus- 
cles — cutting wood — and drying our clothes on one side by the 
fire, while the other got wet, were our only occupations. 

March 1830. hendeeson island — uiego kamtuez. 419 

19th. Still a strong wind, but less rain. Between the squalls 
I obtained a few sights of the sun, for time, and at noon a 
tolerably good set for latitude. Being then better weather, 
and likely to improve, we crossed in the boat to Leading Hill, 
and from its summit took the necessary angles. It was very 
cold and windy, but we effected all that was then required. 

" 20th. Decamped very eai-ly and ran across Duff Bay, 
towards Henderson Island, with a moderately fresh breeze off 
the land ; and as my object was to obtain a good view and a 
round of angles from the summit of a height on that island, I 
passed WeddelFs Morton Isle, Blunder Cove, &c. without 
stopping, and reached the north end of Henderson Island soon 
enough to get sights for time. From that spot we went a short 
distance to a cove, where the boat might remain during my 
absence on the hill, observed the latitude, and then ascended. 
Before we were half-way up, a squall came on from S.W. and 
increased rapidly, but having ascended so far, I was not dis- 
posed to turn back, so we pushed on and reached the summit ; 
yet, when there, I could not use a theodolite, on account of 
the wind. Towards the east I could see a long distance, to the 
farthest of the Hermite Islands ; but towards the west the view 
was obscured by haze ; so leaving the instruments, I hastened 
down to the boat and found her safe, though she had been in 
great danger. By this time the wind had moderated, and before 
dark we measured the distance between the morning and noon 
stations : that from the latter to the summit of the hill I had 
measured, when at the top, by a micrometer. We then passed 
round the north end of the island, and in the dark searched the 
east side for a resting-place, which after some time was found. 

" 21st. A fine clear day enabled me to make the necessai-y 
observations, and I then went up the height and succeeded in 
obtaining a distinct view of the Diego Ramirez Islands. As 
this hill is distant from them between fifty and sixty miles, I 
felt sure of getting a good cross bearing from the south end of 
the Hermite Islands, distant from them, as 1 then thought, 
only about forty, and thus fixing their position. 

" New Year Sound appears to be a large body of water ex- 

2 E 2 

420 NEW YEAK souxD. March 1830- 

tending towards the N.W., with a multitude of islands scat- 
tered about it. From its east side the land trends away towards 
a point which is curiously peaked, like a horn, and which I 
supposed to be the western point of Nassau Bay.* 

" 22d. We had hardly left our cove, when steady i-ain set in ; 
however, we went across towards New Year Sound, sometimes 
favoured by the wind, but could do little. As far as I saw the 
day before, the snowy chain of mountains continued to the 
eastward, therefore I had little hope of finding a body of water 
in the interior of Tierra del Fuego, about the head of Nassau 
Bay. About noon we were near WeddelPs ' Indian Cove,' but 
the weather being thick I did not recognise it, so we stood up 
the sound with a fresh breeze from the W.S.W. I soon found 
that it led only to the north and west, and probably communi- 
cated with some of the passages which Mr. Murray saw lead- 
ing to the eastward from the neighbourhood of Christmas 
Sound. Towards the nortli and east I had already noticed a 
long range of mountains. Concluding therefore from what I 
then observed, and from views obtained from the heights, that 
no passage leads from this sound direct to Christmas Sound, 
and that to return to the Beagle I must go pai-t of the way by 
the sea-coast, or else go round, by a series of intricate passages, 
to the places which Mr. Murray had seen in the cutter ; I pre- 
ferred the coast, as a second view of it would be of use, while a 
traverse among the islands could not be very beneficial. 
'' Putting about, we returned down the sound, the breeze still 
allowing us to sail fast. We closed the western shore to look for 
Indian Cove, and, as the weather had cleared up, found it 
Avithout difficulty. It is not so good a place as I expected ; for 
except at the inner corner close to a run of water, I found only 
rocky soundings. The few casts of good ground were so close 
to the shori that the place can only be considered fit for a cutter, 
or small craft, which could lie quite close to the land. This 
cove is, in my opinion, too far inland to be of general use ; and 
an anchorage under Morton Island would be far preferable 

• False Cape Horn, or Ciipe False. 

March 1830. Indian cove— sympiesomkter, 421 

for a vessel arriving from sea. We found an empty North- 
American cask, apparently left that season : on a height near 
the cove there was a pile of stones we had not time to examine : 
and much wood appeared to have been cut down lately by the 
crew of some vessel. We saw several wigwams, but no Indians. 
That night we stopped near the S.W. point of the sound, 
close to Gold-dust Island. 

" 23d. After examining the cove, in which we passed the 
night, and taking observations, we crossed Duff Bay, towards 
Leading Hill. I wished to have seen more of a promising bay 
on the east side of Morton Island, where I thought there was 
good anchorage, but could not afford time, as it was probable 
that we should be delayed in our return along this exposed 
part of the coast against the prevailing winds. There is a con- 
siderable tide between Morton Isle and the point next to Gold- 
dust Isle. The flood comes from the westward, about one 
knot, or at times two knots, an hour. With the ebb it is nearly 
slack water, or perhaps there is a slight tendency towards the 
west ; and such appears to be the case all along this coast, from 
Christmas Sound. We reached Leading Hill late in the after- 
noon, although the wind had increased much and was directly 
against us : at night it blew a gale from the westward. 

" 24th. A strong gale prevented our moving, or making any 
beneficial use of our time. 

" 25th. Still blowing very fresh; but I thought we could pull 
round into the next bay, and there do some good by planning 
the harbour, &c., although we might get no farther for some 
days. From the season, tfie state of the sympiesometer, and the 
appearance of the weather, I did not expect any favourable 
change until about the end of the month. The sympiesometer 
was my constant companion : I preferred it to a barometer, as 
being much more portable and quicker in its motions. By great 
exerti9n on the part of the men, for it required five hours'' hard 
pulling, we got round a headland into the next bay, a dis- 
tance of only four miles. It rained great part of the time, and 
in the afternoon poured steadily, but we succeeded in finding 
a sheltered spot for our lodging, and soon put ourselves into 

422 DETAINED BY WEATHER — SEAL. Marcll 1830. 

somewhat better plight than we had been in during the greater 
part of the day, the men having been constantly soaked through, 
and their hands quite numbed with cold and wet. I was disap- 
pointed by this place ; the various coves were sounded, with- 
out getting bottom with twenty-five fathoms of line ; and I 
could find no anchorage without going further up the inlet 
tlian would suit any vessel running in from sea for a temporary 

" 26th. A strong gale prevented our going outside, but in 
hopes that there might be an inland passage I set out to look 
for one. Having pulled and sailed about six miles up the inlet, 
we reached its termination, and thence returned to our bivouac. 
There seemed to be an opening into DufF Bay not previously 
seen, which would have saved us some time and trouble had 
we known of its existence. 

" 27th. The gale continued with more or less violence, and 
during the greater part of the day we were occupied in gather- 
ing limpets and muscles, as a stock of food in case of being 
detained longer than our provisions would last. Shooting did 
not succeed, because the sea-birds were very wild and scarce. I 
regretted that there was no harbour in the inlet which could be 
planned during our stay. Every cove we could find had deep 
water, and so rocky a bottom that we found difficulty in secur- 
ing even our small boat ; for this continued gale raised so 
much swell that we were kept on the alert at night to shift her 
berth as often as the wind changed. 

" 28th. This day, and the preceding night, the wind was 
exceedingly violent, from N.W. to S.W., but generally south- 
ward of west. In pulling across the cove to get limpets, the 
squalls at times forced the oars out of the men's hands, and blew 
them across or away from the boat. Much rain fell during 
most nights, but after sunrise it generally ceased ; sometimes 
however the rain poured down by day as much as by night. 

" I here saw many seals teaching their young ones to swim. 
It was curious to see the old seal supporting the pup by its 
flipper, as if to let it breathe and rest, and then pushing it 
away into deep water to shift for itself. 

March 1830. retuhn to chuistmas sound. 423 

" 29th. This morning, with better weather, we sailed very 
early in hopes to get round Black Point; the wind being 
moderate promised well, but, with the sun, it rose again. 
However, we tried hard for about six hours, during four of 
which I hardly hoped to succeed, for it blew strong, and the 
tide race was dangerous : but before evening we gained the 
sheltered part of Trefusis Bay. The men were on their oars 
from five in the morning till four in the afternoon, and, except- 
ing two rests of a quarter of an hour each, pulling hard all the 
time. We landed in a sheltered spot, about half a mile within 
the entrance of a passage which leads from Trefusis Bay to 
Christmas Sound. Our fatigue and thorough drenching, by 
sea and rain, was then little cared for, having gained our point, 
and being only a day's pull from the Beagle. 

" I had seen along this passage from Christmas Sound, as 
well as from Leading Hill, and rejoiced to get into it, for the 
outer coast is a wild one for a boat at any period of the year 
— and this Avas the month of March ; about the worst time. 

" 30th, A fine clear morning. We started with the sun, and 
pulled so fast along in the smooth water, that by the evening 
we reached our little vessel, and found that all was well on 
board ; that there had been no more visits from the Fuegians, 
nor any troubles. The new boat was finished on the 23d, only 
twenty days having been occupied by Mr. May and three men 
in building her. Appearance was very much in her favour, 
notwithstanding the disadvantages under which she was built. 
Lieutenant Kempe had finished all the ship"'s work with his 
usual promptness : new topmast rigging had been fitted, and 
every thing prepared for sea. I was two days over the time 
for which we carried provisions, but by my coxswain's care of 
them, and by using limpets and other shell-fish, we still had a 

" Having seen as much as seemed necessary of the coast 
between Christmas Sound and Nassau Bay (I mean necessary 
in proportion to our limited time and provisions), the Ilde- 
fonsos and Diego Ramirez Isles were to be our next objects. 

" 31st. A strong wind, with much rain, prevented our mov- 

424 LEAVE MARCH HARBOUR — iLDEFoNsos. March 1830. 

ing early — but as the sun rose higher the weather improved, 
and we tried to weigh, — yet were provokingly delayed, for the 
chain was so fast round a rock, that for nearly an hour we could 
not move it. At last we succeeded, without injury to any- 
thing — left the harbour, and stood away for the Ildefonsos 
with a strong W.S.W. mnd .and a confused high swell. 

" March Harbour (so called from our having passed the 
month of March in it) is not so good as I at first thought. 
The bottom is certainly excellent in some parts ; it is well shel- 
tered, and easy of access, but there are many rocky places 
which would injure a hemp cable. Besides, there is a danger- 
ous rock under Avatcr in the wide part of the harbour, hidden 
by a large patch of kelp. 

" We passed along the S.W. side of the Ildefonsos, at the 
distance of half a mile. They appeared like the higher parts 
of a mountain almost under water, lying N.W. and S.E., 
nearly broken through by the sea in several places, so as to 
form several islets, of which the highest and largest is about 
two hundred feet above the sea, and one-third of a mile in 
length ; another is about one-quarter of a mile long ; the rest 
are mere rocks. The two larger ai'e covered with tussac,* 
among which we saw numerous seal which had scrambled 
up to the very summits. Having seen enough of these islets, 
we hauled our wind, and shortened sail, to prepare for the 
night : for it blew a fresh gale, with every appearance of 
its increasing and drawing to the south wai'd. I wished to 
make the Dieo-o Ramirez Islands the next morning, and 
thence run to the north-eastward ; and, had the wind been 
moderate, could have done so without difficulty ; but after car- 
rying a press of sail during the night, and making southing, 
with as little easting as possible, I fovmd myself, at daylight 
next morning, five miles to leeward of the above-mentioned 
islands, with the wind sti'ong from the N.W., and too much 
sea to allow me to hope to see moi-e of them without remaining 
under sail until the weather moderated. This would not have 

• A rushy kind of coarse "rass. 

April 1830. false cape — Nassau bay. 425 

suited the chronometers, or our hmited time ; therefore we wore 
round and steered (by WeddelFs chart) for the western part 
of the Hermite Islands, intending to run along the land from 
West Cape. The wind became more moderate towards noon, 
but the weather got so thick that no part of the land could be 
made out distinctly ; and supposing that a point of land which 
I saw was Cape Spencer, we steered directly for it, as the day 
was drawing to a close and obliged me to give up my intention 
of coasting. Nearing the land, I found it resembled the point 
I had seen from Henderson Island, and supposed to be the 
S.W. extreme of Nassau Bay, but did not correspond to any 
part of the Hermite Islands, as shewn by Captain King's plan. 
Evening was approaching, thick misty clouds shut out other 
land from our view, but being a weather shore, I trusted to 
finding; anchorage somewhere, and stood on. 

" The wind increased, and blew in very strong squalls off 
shore, obliging vis to carry, low sail until we had run seve- 
ral miles along the land in smooth water, when we anchoi'ed 
at the entrance of a bay, in thirteen fathoms water, over a 
coarse sandy bottom. A low projecting point covered us from 
the force of the wind as it then blew ; and the land on each 
side from all other westerly winds : but the squalls increased so 
violently in the early part of the night, that although in smooth 
water, with eighty fathoms of chain out, the top-gallant masts 
down, and yards braced up, the vessel drove, and we were 
obliged to let go another anchor, and veer a long scope of 
cable ; after which she held on firmly through the night. 

" 2d. At daylight we hove up the best bower, but found 
one fluke broken off". After getting: the sheet anchor to the 
bows, and the broken one in-board, we weighed and made sail 
to Avindward, in search of a good anchorage. When the wea- 
ther cleared in the morning, I had discovered that we were in 
Nassau Bay, near Orange Bay, and that the curiously-peaked 
headland we had passed was ' False Cape Horn,' the same 
which I had seen from Henderson Island. Finding this the 
case, I determined to turn the mistake to account, and at once 
set to work in this quarter, postponing our visit to the Hermite 


Islands. Short runs were essential, because of the chronometers, 
and this last had been a long one for them, with much motion, 
therefore it was necessary I should get observations. 

" Towards noon the weather cleared and became very fine, 
with a light breeze from the northward. We stood across near 
the north end of the Hermite Islands, carrying soundings right 
across ; but the view we obtained of the head of Nassau Bay, 
did not encourage us to hope for either interior waters or a 
passage, as the mountains seemed to continue in an unbroken 
chain to the eastward of New Island, and from the mast-head 
I saw other high mountains far to the eastAvard. In the after- 
noon we stood into a fine-looking cleai* bay, well sheltered, and 
with regular soundings, from twelve to twenty fathoms over fine 
sand. I afterwards found that this was Oi-ange Bay, and that 
the bay at the south point of which we anchored last night was 
that called, by the Dutch, Schapenham Bay. Being a large, 
roomy place, with even bottom, we remained at single anchor ; 
but the glass had been falling so much, and was then so 
extremely low, that I thought it prudent to prepare for the 
worst, and struck topmasts. 

" During the latter part of our stay in Christmas Sound, 
and up to the present time, our sick-list had been considerable, 
therefore I was not sorry to gain a safe anchorage in a place 
which appeared likely to afford the means of recruiting our 
invalids, and restoring them to health. Colds and rheumatisms, 
owing to bleak winds and much wet, were the chief complaints. 
This was the only time since the Beagle left Rio de Janeiro 
that her sick-list had been worthy of notice. 

" Notwithstanding the unusual fall of the barometer and sym- 
piesometer and their still continuing to sink, this day was as 
fine, and seemed as likely to continue so, as any day I had ever 
seen, therefore we took advantage of it, by getting the neces- 
sary observations for time, latitude, and true bearing; by airing 
bedding, and cleaning the ship throughout. This appeared to 
be an excellent place for vessels : the land around is rather 
low, and looked much more cheerful than the high dismal 
mountains under which we last anchored. Wood and water 

April 1830. barometer — excursions. 427 

were plentiful, and easily obtained. Wild-fowl were numerous, 
and our people brought on board a serviceable supply, enough 
for all the sick, and for most of those who were in health. 

" 3d and 4th. Still very fine weather, although the baro- 
meter and sympiesometer were lower than I had yet seen 
them in this country. Our Fuegians were becoming very 
cheerful, and apparently contented. We gave them as much 
fresh provision (birds and fish) as we could obtain with guns 
and lines, and hitherto they had fared very well. All that 
was shot went to one stock, from which it was divided in 
rotation to the messes, the sick being first provided for, and 
then the Fuegians. 

" 5th and 6th. Two more fine days, with a very low glass, 
shook my faith in the certainty of the barometer and sym- 
piesometer.* During those days, the wind had been light 
from N.N.W., and twice before I had known these instruments 
to be similarly affected during exactly similar wind and wea- 
ther : once at Fort Desire, on the coast of Patagonia ; and 
once at Port Gallant, while I was in the Otway Water. 

" The master went towards the head of Nassau Bay, and Mr. 
Stokes set out in the opposite direction. Mr. Murray had one 
of our best chronometers, kept in a box, well packed in wool, 
but exposed to the temperature of the air. Before going away 
and after returning, it was kept and rated in the same box on 
deck, because the variations of temperature in the open air of 
this climate are small ; much less than a chronometer would 
experience if alternating between a warm cabin and a cold 
boat. I was sadly grieved at finding that some Fuegians who 
arrived were not of the same tribe as our captives, nor even 
spoke the same language. On the contrary, much enmity 
appeared to exist between them ; though their colour, fea- 
tures, and habits were similar. At first, 'York' and 'Boat' 
would not go near them ; but afterwards took delight in 
trying to cheat them out of the things they offered to bar- 
ter ; and mocked their way of speaking and laughing ; point- 

• The mercury in the barometer fell to 28,94, and the oil in the sym- 
piesometer to 28,52 ; the thermometer ranging from 40° to 48° (Faht.) 

428 YAPOos — FISHING — FORGE. April 1830. 

ing at them, and calling them ' Yapoo, yapoo.'' ' Fuegia' 
went on deck ; but the instant she saw them, screamed and 
ran away. Some one told her, in jest, to go into their canoe 
and live with them, which frightened her so much, that she 
burst into tears and ran below to hide herself. After they 
were gone, ' Boat' and ' York' made us understand they had 
had fights with that tribe, and shewed the scars of wounds 
received from them. By the help of signs we could compre- 
liend mvich of their meaning ; but very few words were yet 
learned on either side. We afterwards found that these Ya- 
poos built their wigwams in a manner differing from that of 
the western tribes, being made of a number of poles, or pieces 
of wood, placed on end around a small space, and meeting at 
the top. 

" Our Yapoo acquaintances established themselves in the 
bay near our forge, but without attempting to steal any thing. 
They frequently came alongside the ship with fish, which they 
caught in the kelp. They take these fish by means of a line 
without a hook, having only a small piece of bait at the end, 
with which to entice them to the top of the Avater, close to the 
side of the canoe. A fish bites, and before it can detach its 
small teeth from the soft, tough bait, the hand holding the 
line jerks the prize above the water, and the other catches it. 
The fisher then bites out a large piece of its belly, takes out 
the inside, and hangs the fish on a stick by the fire in the 

" 10th. Still fine steady weather, notwithstanding the un- 
usvially low fall of the barometer already mentioned. 

" 12th. By the assistance of Mr. May, at the forge, we 
made one good anchor out of two broken ones, and fitted new 
hawse-plates where they were worn through, by constantly 
using the chains. Fortunately, we brought from San Carlos 
a good supply of iron and coals, and applied the latter only 
to the use of the armourer and the small stoves, so that we 
were enabled to use the forge very often ; and between the 
wants of the ship and those of the boats, there was always 
raiuch work for that most useful appendage. 

April 1830. weather — mr. Murray's dtscoverv. 429 

" Theglasses had at last been rising; and during the past night 
and this day, the wind was veiy strong witli much rain. The 
wind shifted from the northern quarter into the southern, draw- 
ing round to the S.E. ; which, of course, would make the mer- 
cury rise higher after being so very low, though the weather 
might prove extremely bad. 

" 14th. The master returned, and surprised me with the infor- 
mation that he had been through and far beyond Nassau Bay. 
He had gone very little to the northward, but a long distance 
to the east, having passed through a narrow passage, about 
one-third of a mile wide, Avhich led him into a straight chan- 
nel, averaging about two miles or more in width, and extending 
nearly east and west as far as the eye could reach. Westward of 
the passage by which he entered, was an opening to the north- 
west ; but as his orders specified north and east, he followed 
the eastern branch of the channel, looking for an opening on 
either side, without success. Northward of him lay a range of 
mountains, whose summits were covered with snow, which 
extended about forty miles, and then sunk into ordinary hills 
that, near the place which he reached, shewed earthy or clayey 
cliffs towards the water. From the clay cliffs his view was 
unbroken by any land in an E.S.E. direction, therefore he 
must have looked through an opening at the outer sea. His 
provisions being almost exhausted, he hastened back. 

" On the south side of the channel there were likewise 
mountains of considerable elevation ; but, generally speaking, 
that shore was lower than the opposite. Mr. Murray saw great 
numbers of natives near the narrow passage and upwards of 
a hundred canoes were seen in one day, each containing from 
two to six people. These Fuegians had much guanaco skin, and 
many of the bones of that animal made into spear-heads, but 
very little seal-skin. The wigwams were large and commodious, 
compared with those of the western tribes, being built of small 
trees piled up endwise, and tied together at the top, their 
outside being covered with bushes, grass. Sec. to keep out the 
cold, and the earth inside scooped out much below the surface 
of the ground. Some could hold about twice as many people 


as the western wigwams : but all were not so large. Every 
canoe gave chase to our boat, eager to see the strangers, and 
exchange small fish, spear-heads, or arrows, for buttons, beads, 
and other trifles. No arms or offensive weapons were seen 
among them, excepting fish spears, bows, arrows, and slings : 
they had not even clubs, nor such lances as are used by the 
western tribes. They seemed to be more tractable, and less 
disposed to quarrel than those of the west. Wherever the boat 
went, she was followed by a train of canoes, each full of people, 
and having a fire smoking in the middle. Where they got the 
guanaco skins was a question not easy to answer. Was there a 
passage to the northward, by which they could trade with the 
people living there .'' — or were there guanacoes in the southern 
part of Tierra del Fuego ? Both the bones and skins seemed 
abundant ; but the people made signs to Mr. Murray that they 
came from the eastward : — none pointed towards the north. 
One native showed how they ran, and their shape, and how 
they were killed, also the kind of noise they made. 

" 15tli. Mr. Stokes returned, after going a long way to the 
north and west, without finding a passage into New Year 
Sound. His examination, united to Mr. Murray's, almost com- 
pleted the north and west part of Nassau Bay ; and only the 
east side remained to be explored. Our anchorage, called 
Orange Bay, is excellent ; and one of the few on this coast 
which are fit for a squadron of line-of-battle ships. Its ap- 
proach from the sea is as easy as the harbour is commodious. 
There are three fathoms close to the shore ; yet in no part 
are there more than twenty ; and every where there is a sandy 
bottom. Water is abundant ; Avood grows close to the sea ; 
wild-fowl are numerous ; and although shell-fish are scarce, 
plenty of small fish may be caught with hook and line among 
the kelp, and in the summer a seine will furnish abundance. 

" On the 16th we left Orange Bay, but light winds pre- 
vented our reaching the open sea that day, or during the 
following night. I was equally disposed to run out again to the 
Diego Ramirez — to look at the coast west of False Cape for 
about ten miles — or to run for the Bay of St. Francis ; but the 

April 1830. compasses affected — cape horn. 431 

wind failed entirely. During the night we had a breeze that 
would have carried us down to the latter spot, but wishing to 
see, and take bearings of the land as I went, I did not profit 
by it ; and in the morning was baffled with light airs and a 
current setting to the northward. 

" 17th. During the early part of the day we had light 
variable winds, scarcely sufficient to help us against the cur- 
rent which seemed to set constantly into the bay, from the sea, 
at the rate of about one knot an hour. The manner in which 
our compasses were affected in this bay was remarkable ; all of 
them being extremely sluggish, and, unless continually shaken, 
they did not show the proper magnetic bearings, or agree 
together, nearer than two points. I sharpened the centres with 
much care, and examined the agate caps, without improving 
the results. The compasses considered the best in other places, 
were here as bad as the worst ; an excellent one, upon Alexan- 
der's principle, with central jimbals, being nearly viseless. In 
trying the compasses on shore, the heavy cards with large 
needles had been less affected by local influence than light deli- 
cate cards of Kater : the heavy ones having averaged 24° vari- 
ation along the whole coast, though Kater's differed in some 
places as much as from 19° to 28 ° ; agreeing nearly with each 
other, but not with Gilbert's or Alexander's compasses, in both 
of which were cards comparatively heavy. 

" We passed much too close to West Cape, but having 
fortunately cleared it, ran along the land before a moderate 
breeze, and rounded Cape Spencer at dusk. The weather was 
so thick that Cape Horn could not be seen, and we mistook 
the former for the famous cape ; especially as, in that view, 
the lower part of Cape Spencer looked like the head of a 
double-horned rhinoceros : but as we drew nearer. Cape Horn 
appeared. The wind failed as we entered the Bay of St. Francis, 
and left us to the alternative of anchoring in deep water, or 
driving about with the current : we therefore anchored off San 
Joachim Cove, near the Seal Rock. The night proved fine, 
so we lay quietly till next moi-ning, and then made sail to 
a breeze from the northward and anchored in San Martin 


Cove. I afterwards went in a boat to Horn Island, to ascer- 
tain the nature of the landing, and whether it was practicable 
to carry any instruments to the summit of the Cape. Many 
places were found where a boat might land ; and more than 
one spot where she could be hauled ashore : so that taking in- 
struments to the summit did not seem likely to be a very diffi- 
cult task. As the weather continued favourable I returned on 
board that night, and the next morning (19th) arranged for a 
visit to Cape Horn ; a memorial having been previously pre- 
pared, and securely enclosed in a stone jar. 

After taking observations at noon for latitude, we set out, 
carrying five days' provisions, a good chronometer, and other 
instruments. We landed before dark, hauled our boat up in 
safety on the north-east side, and established ourselves for the 
night on Horn Island. 

" 20th. At daybreak we conwfienced our walk across the 
island, each carrying his load ; and by the time the sun was 
high enough for observing, were near the summit, and exactly 
in its meridian ; so we stopped while I took two sets of sights 
and a round of angles. Soon afterwards we reached the highest 
point of the Cape, and immediately began our work; I and my 
coxswain, with the instruments ; and Lieut. Kempe with the 
boat''s crew raising a pile of stones over the memorial. 

" At first the Diego Ramirez Islands were seen, but before 
I could get the theodolite fixed and adjusted, the horizon be- 
came hazy. At noon satisfactory sets of circum-meridional 
altitudes were obtained with two good sextants. A round of 
angles, compass bearings for the variation, and good afternoon 
sights for time completed our success. The pile made over our 
memorial was eight feet high, and in it were stones which 
required the united exertions of all seven men to raise to the 
top. We drank the health of His Majesty King George the 
Fourth, and gave three hearty cheers, standing round the 
Union Jack. Directly all was finished we travelled towards 
our boat as fast as possible : but darkness surrounded us before 
we were more than half-way. Those who had loads which 
would not be hurt by tumbling about among bushes, travelled 



on ; but, having the chronometer and a sextant to take care of, 
I waited till one of the men returned with a lantern. All 
reached the boat before nine o'clock, without losing or injuring 
any thing ; but the cargo of stones, for specimens, which each 
brought back, delayed our returning progress materially. 

" At day-light (21st) we launched and stowed our boat, 
and set out on our return. We reached the ship that after- 
noon, well laden with fragments of Cape Horn. 

" 22d. Since the end of March the weather had been more 
settled, and much finer than we had yet had it on any part of 
the coast ; but our visit to Horn Island was only just in time, 
for it soon changed again to blowing and raining. Being close 
to the head of the cove, we did not feel the williwaws — though 
they appeared to blow sharply enough about the middle of it. 
I did not wonder at the American, whom we met in the Strait 
of Magalhaens, saying tliat he saw ' marks of a very large 
establishment ;' for the head of this cove appeared to have been 
colonized by the Chanticleer, so many remains of wooden roads 
and wooden houses were visible every where. 

" 23d — 24th. Bad weather. I was waiting anxiously for an 
opportunity of getting a true bearing of Diego Ramirez, from 
the top of Kater Peak, or Cape Spencer, to cross the bearings 
obtained from Henderson Island. 

" 25th. I went up to the summit of the Peak, but found so 
thick a haze, that no distant object could be seen. Leaving 
the instruments at the top, after taking a few angles, and obser- 
vations of the sun for true bearings, I descended, and after- 
wards examined St. Bernard Cove, which appeared to be a 
good harbour. By comparing the old charts with this place 
and Nassau Bay, I became convinced that there had been a 
great mistake, and that the Bay of Nassau is, or rather was, 
the bay of St. Francis ; and that the plan given in the Admi- 
ralty charts is a very fair sketch of its west side, from False 
Cape to Packsaddle Island ; but the bottom and east side of 
the bay are evidently put in at random, and would have been 
better left out to give place to the words, ' Land was seen in 
this direction."' Neither in shape, bearings, distance, or 

VOL. I. 2 F 


soundings, does that plan correspond with the place now called 
St. Francis Bay ; but it does agree very closely, considering 
the date of its being made, with the part I have mentioned. 
The words Cape Horn may have misled the compiler, as the 
plan does not show any latitude or longitude, and those who 
since visited the place, previously to the Beagle's arrival, had 
not been in Nassau Bay. 

" 26th. Another fine day. I went up the peak again and 
obtained the desired angles ; but Diego Ramirez appeared 
nearly as distant '^as when seen from the top of Henderson 
Island. Meanwhile the Beagle was unmoored and got under 
sail. I reached her outside the cove, and stood to seaward ; 
but the day was too fine, there being little or no wind till 
dark, when a light breeze carried us out of the bay. I steered 
for the Diego Ramirez Islands, anxious to profit by the fine 
weather, and examine them more closely. 

" 27th. The water being smooth, we had a good opportunity 
of taking angles for placing the coast between West Cape and 
Cape Spencer, which completed what was wanting in that part ; 
afterwards, we again steered towards the Diego Ramirez. 

" 28th. A fine morning with a fresh breeze, just such as we 
desired. Having kept our wind under easy sail during the 
night, we bore up, and, at daylight, ran along the east side of 
the rocky cluster, the wind being from the N.E. We hove-to 
frequently to take angles and soundings, and sailed quite round 
the islands at theaveragedistanceof half amile, and then stood 
away to the northward. They are quite similar to the Ilde- 
fonsos ; the top of a ridge of hills showing above the water, and 
broken through by the sea. The two largest are about two 
hundred feet high, and are covered with tussac : there is a 
shingle beach on one (the second in size), where a boat may be 
hauled up in safety ; and there is enough good water on the 
east side of the same island to supply thirty men. A furious 
surf breaks against the west shore, and sends a spray over the 
whole island. There is no sheltered anchorage for a vessel : 
for though slie might bring up in deep water, on the eastern 
side of the group, for a short time, she would even then risk 

April 1830. climate — st. joachim cove. 435 

losing her anchor. The least water I found was fifty fathoms, 
though WeddelFs chart shows that there is less than forty off 
the S.E. end. The heavy swell prevented my landing ; but the 
appearance of the rocks induced me to suppose that they were 
greenstone. If not of that nature, and similar to the rock 
about Cape Horn, they may be of very hard sandstone. 

" 29th. In this climate, during the few intervals of settled 
fine weather, the sky is frequently overcast soon after sunset, and 
a slight shower falls. I noticed this frequently here, as well as 
during the preceding April, May, and June, in the Strait. 

" We stood into the bay which lies between False Cape and 
New Year Sound ; but it offered nothing inviting to a ship, 
being a leeward bight, with rocks and islets scattered along 
it near the shore. Perhaps there is shelter for a vessel amongst 
them ; but I would not choose their neighbourhood, if it could 
be avoided, as the bay is exposed to the S. W. winds, which on 
this coast are the worst. The breeze freshening, and drawing 
to the northward, enabled us to reach Cape Spencer in the 
evening, when, as the weather promised ill, I was glad to 
anchor in eighteen fathoms, over a sandy bottom, off the 
entrance of San Joachim Cove. 

" Expecting wind, we sent top-gallant masts on deck, 
braced up, and veered to eighty fathoms. After eight the 
weather cleared, and appeared likely to remain fine, but the 
glasses continued to fall. At ten a sudden heavy squall came 
over the land, and the tops of the hills became thickly covered 
Avith clouds. Successive furious gusts followed : we let go a 
second anchor, and veered a whole cable on each. The squalls 
came most violently from the S.W., and in half an hour the 
bank of clouds disappeared ; but a strong gale from S. W. con- 
tinued till daylight, when it moderated. Cape Spencer pro- 
tected us very well, both from wind and sea : should a ship 
wish to enter San Martin Cove, and the wind or daylight fail 
her, she will find this spot a convenient stopping-place. 

" 30th. The Beagle unmoored, got under sail, and stood 
towards Cape Horn : at noon she was close to the famous 
Cape, with beautifully fine weather, more like the climate of 

2f 2 

436 BARNEVELT — EvouTs. May 1830. 

Madeira than that of fifty-six south latitude. During this day 
I had excellent opportunities of taking angles, bearings, and 
soundings, which I hoped would be sufficient for the south 
and east sides of the Hermite Islands. The following night we 
worked to the northward, near the Barnevelt Islands, the wea- 
ther being fine, and the moon shining brightly. 

" May 1st. A beautiful day — May-day indeed, I landed 
on the Barnevelt Islands, and took sights for time, latitude, 
and true bearing, besides a round of angles, while the Beagle 
was making slow progress to the northward, the wind being 
very light, and variable. There is no good landing-place on 
those islands ; but as the water was then comparatively smooth, 
we were enabled to land upon a steep rocky part, where the 
surf did not break much. They are two low islets, lying nearly 
north and south, covered with grass, tussac, and weeds. The 
largest is about half a mile long, and one-third of a mile wide ; 
the other is about two cables' length square. Several rocks lie 
off the south end, towards both the east and west ; and one 
above water lies detached, towards the Hermite Islands, nearly 
in mid-channel : but no other appearance of danger was visible. 
Tlie angles gained here, crossing those from Orange Bay, 
bounded the Hermite Islands towards the north — thouo-h the 
detail of their coast-line, northwards, yet remained to be 

" 2d. As fine a day as the preceding. We were close to 
Evouts, an islet similar to the Barnevelts, but rather higher. 
The weather enabled Mr. Wilson to continue his sketches of 
the coast : but indeed no part along which we sailed had 
been quite omitted. In the afternoon we closed the shore 
near New Island, and were looking out sharply for banks and 
shoals, fancying, because the land looked lower, and the Nassau 
flat had shoal souixlings, that we should find banks detached 
from the land. Shoaler water we certainly found, compared 
with that to which we had been lately accustomed, namely, 
from fifteen to twenty fathoms, gradually decreasing as we 
neared the shore, but we never had less than ten till we were 
standing into a harbour in the evening. I could here trace no 

May 1830. lennox hakbour — boat excursions. 437 

resemblance whatever to any published chart ; but seeing a 
place at the back of some low islets which appeared likely to 
afford sheltered anchorage, we steared for it, and at sunset 
anchored in a well-sheltered harbour on the east side of a large 
island, to the west of New Island. The water shoaled gra- 
dually, over a fine sandy bottom ; but we ran in rather too far, 
and had only three fathoms after veering cable, so we were 
obliged to shift our berth. 

" 3d. Mr. Murray prepared to go along the coast towards 
Cape Good Success, carrying one of the chronometers, and 
other necessary instruments, and taking three weeks' provisions. 
He set out, in a whale-boat, with six men, well armed and 
equipped in every way. Having despatched the master, I 
prepared for an excursion into the interior passages of this part 
of Tierra del Fuego : while Mr. Stokes, in another boat, was to 
contiue the survey of the coast from the east side of the head 
of Nassau Bay to the vicinity of New Island ; and Lieut. 
Kempe would take care of the ship, and forward her refitting, 
besides wooding and watering. 


Set out in boats — Find Guanacoes — Murray Narrow — Birch Fungus — 
Tide — Channel — Glaciers — View — Mountains — Unbroken chain — 
Passages — Steam-vessels — Jemmy Button — Puma — Nest — Accident 
— Natives — Murray's Journal — Cape Graham — Cape Kinnaird — Spa- 
niard Harbour — Valentyn Ba^' — Cape Good Success — Natives — Len- 
nox Island — Strait Le Maire — Good Success Bay — Accident — Tide 
Race — San Vicente — San Diego — Tides — Soundings — North-east 
Coast — San Sebastian — Reflections — Port Desire — Monte Video- 
Santa Catalina — Rio de Janeiro. 

" 4th. Mr. Stokes and I each began another trip in the 
boats, taking chronometers, and the necessary instruments. 
He steered to the northward, to get to the mainland ; I kept 
outside to the south-westward, to make the most direct course 
towards the communication between Nassau Bay and the 
newly discovered passage or channel. I was surprised to find 
that the eastern shore of Nassau Bay resembled much of the 
coast of Patagonia (being a stratum of earth without rock), 
and differed entirely from the general character of the coasts 
and islands of Tierra del Fuego. At sunset we landed, and 
hauled up our boat on a shingle beach which extended several 
miles, and upon walking only a few yards inland I saw the 
prints of large cloven hoofs, almost the size of those of a cow. 
This discovery gave an answer to the question about the 
guanaco skins and bones found among the Fuegians, but made 
me less sanguine of finding a passage northward through the 
interior of the country. Much brushwood was found near 
this place ; and a profusion of rich grass covered an extensive 

" 5th. We launched the boat, and continued our course 
along-shore, finding rather shoal water (three to six fathoms 
within about half a mile), with a very thick bed of kelp, 
through which it was difficult to force the boat. We had not 
advanced far, when, passing round a low point of land, we saw 

May 1830. guanacoes — Murray narrow. 439 

four fine guanacoes feeding close to tlie water. Tliey did not 
seem to be much alarmed ; but walked away from us round a 
projecting part of the shore, whicli prevented our getting a shot 
at them. They appeared to be much larger than those I had seen 
near Port Desire, on the Patagonian coast, their bodies being 
far heavier, and their tails longer and more bushy. These dif- 
ferences might be the natural result of a different climate, as 
cool weather, with plenty of food and water, would probably 
increase their size. I would not delay, on their account, hoping 
to fall in with others, but pushed on along the shore. These 
animals were near what is called in the chart ' Windhond Bay."" 
In the afternoon, we were again among rocky mountains and 
deep-water shores, and being so fortunate as to get a fresh 
breeze from the S.E., made much progress before night. We 
saw several canoes, full of natives ; but did not turn aside to 
speak to them, as time was too precious. 

" 6th. A very cold and blowing morning, the wind being 
against us, yet we made better progress than I had hoped for, 
as our boat proved to be so excellent ; and whether sailing or 
pulling, was all we could wish for. This night we bivouacked 
close to the Murray Narrow, but took care not to land till 
after dark, and then carefully concealed the fire, so that our 
rest might not be disturbed by visits from the Fuegians. A 
sharp look-out was, of course, kept by the watch ; and by my 
two dogs, who were very useful in that way. 

" 7th. Soon after we set out, many canoes were seen in chase 
of us ; but though they paddled fast in smooth water, our 
boat moved too quickly for them to succeed in their endeavours 
to barter with us, or to gratify their curiosity. The Murray 
Narrow is the only passage into the long channel which runs so 
nearly east and west. A strong tide sets througli it, the flood 
coming from tlie channel. On each side is rather low land, 
rising quickly into hills, behind which are mountains : those 
on the west side being high, and covered with snow. When we 
stopped to cook and eat our dinner, canoes came from all sides, 
bringing plenty of fish for barter. None of the natives had 
any arms ; they seemed to be smaller in size, and less disposed 

440 LARGE WIGWAM — BIRCH FUKGus. May 1830. 

to be mischievous, than the western race: their language sounded 
similar to that of the natives whom we saw in Orange Bay. We 
found a very large wigwam, built in a substantial manner, and 
a much better place to live in than many of the huts which are 
called houses in Childe. I think twenty men might have stood 
upright in it, in a circle ; but, probably, of these Fuegians, it 
would house thirty or forty in the cold weather. 

" While our men were making a fire and cooking, I walked 
into the wood, but found it bore little resemblance to that 
which our eyes had lately been accustomed to. The trees were 
mostly birch, but grew tall and straight. The ground was dry 
and covered with withered leaves, which crackled as I walked ; 
whereas, in other parts where Ave had lately passed our time, 
the splashing sound of wet, marshy soil had always attended 
our footsteps, when not on rock. These Fuegians appeared 
to think the excrescences which grow on the birch trees, like 
the gall-nuts on an oak, an estimable dainty. They offered us 
several, some as large as an apple, and seemed surprised at our 
refusal. Most of them had a small piece of guanaco, or seal- 
skin, on their shoulders or bodies, but not enough for warmth : 
perhaps they did not willingly approach strangers with their 
usual skin dress about them, their first impulse, on seeing us, 
being to hide it. Several, whom I surprised at their wigwams, 
had large skins round their bodies, which they concealed 
directly they saw me. Fish and the birch fungus must be their 
chief food, for shell-fish are scarce and small ; but they catch 
an abundance of excellent rock-fish, smelt, and what might be 
called a yellow mullet. Guanaco meat may occasionally be 
obtained by them, but not in sufficient quantity to be depended 
upon as an article of daily subsistence. 

" Leaving the natives, we sailed across towards the western 
arm of the long channel, and continued making our way west- 
ward, with oar and sail, until dusk, when we landed, unper- 
ceived, as we thought, and established ourselves for the night. 
Just as we had moored the boat, kindled a fire, and pitched 
our tent, a canoe came into the cove ; another and another 
followed, until we were surrounded with natives. Knowing 

May 1830. tide — channel — devil. 441 

we must either drive them away by force, or be plagued with 
them all night, we at once packed up our things, and wished 
them good evening. About three miles further westward, we 
again landed, and fixed our tent in a cove, which gave us good 
shelter through the night, without any interruption. It was 
high water this afternoon at four o'clock (being the day of full 
moon), and the tide rose three feet. The channel here, and 
opposite the Narrow, is about three miles wide ; on its north 
side is an unbroken line of high mountains, covered with snow to 
within about a thousand feet of the water. Southward are like- 
wise snow-covered heights, so that the channel is formed by the 
valley lying between two parallel ridges of high mountains. 

" 8th. This morning it froze very sharply. We started at 
sun-rise, with a fine breeze from the eastward, and made a long 
run before it. The channel preserved the same character, and 
nearly the same width ; on the north, the mountains continued 
without any opening ; but a few miles farther, we saw Avhat 
appeared to be one. I soon found that there was one passage 
leading westward, and another rather to the southward of west, 
which appeared to open into the sea. The easterly breeze 
faiUng, and squalls from the N.W. succeeding, we did not 
make much progress in the afternoon ; yet before dark had 
reached the place where the two channels commence, and stopped 
for the night on a small island. Soon after dark, one of the boat's 
crew was startled by two large eyes stai-ing at him, out of a 
thick bush, and he ran to his companions, saying he had seen 
the devil ! A hearty laugh at his expense was followed by a 
shot at the bush, which brought to the ground a magnificent 
horned owl. 

" Next day, we continued our westerly route. No natives 
were seen, though a few wigwams, of the round-topped kind, 
were passed. The westernmost sharp-pointed, or Yapoo wig- 
wam, was on the main-land, close to the island of the Devil ; 
it was made of small trees, piled up in a circle (the branches 
and roots having been broken off) vdth the smaller ends meet- 
ing at the top. The boat's crew said it had been a ' Meeting- 
House,' and peihaps they were not far vvrong ; for being so 


large, and just on what might be called neutral ground between 
the two tribes, it is not unlikely that there may have been 
many a meeting there — perhaps many a battle. At the sepa- 
ration, or meeting of the two channels, it was high water at a 
quarter before five this morning, and the flood came from the 
west, about a knot an hour ; the ebb-tide set to the west at 
about half that strength. Much drift-wood and large fragments 
of ice were carried along with it. Between some of the moun- 
tains the ice extended so widely as to form immense glaciers, 
which were faced, towards the water, by lofty cliffs. During a 
beautifully fine and still night, the view from our fireside, in 
this narrow channel, was most striking, though confined. 
Thickly-wooded and very steep mountains shut us in on three 
sides, and opposite, distant only a few miles, rose an immense 
barrier of snow-covered mountains, on which the moon was 
shining brightly. The water between was so glassy, that their 
outline might be distinctly traced in it : but a death-like still- 
ness was sometimes broken by masses of ice falling from the 
opposite glaciers, which crashed, and reverberated around — like 
eruptions of a distant volcano. 

" 10. Before daylight this morning, we were on our oars ; 
and by the time the sun was high enovigh for observing, were 
many miles westward of our resting-place. After sights, while 
the men were cooking, I obtained a few bearings, and prepared 
to return, not intending to go further westward. I saw water 
from that spot, more than twenty miles to the west (by com- 
pass) ; and then my view was limited by the channel turning 
towards the south. In those twenty miles, not the slightest 
appearance of an opening to the northward could be seen ; 
mountain succeeded mountain, in unbroken succession. Three 
ridges, or ranges, could be traced, lying parallel to each other ; 
and the nearest summits of those in the third, or furthest range, 
stretching from the northward and eastward of me, and conti- 
nuing, as far as eye could reach, towards the north and west, 
were at least five leagues distant. Their height I supposed to 
be about four thousand feet : that of those nearest to me, about 
two thousand : and of those in the middle range, mentioned 


May 1830. channels — unbroken chain. 443 

just now, about three thousand. At a distance, the channel 
appeared to trend to the southward of west, and there the sides 
of the mountains seemed to be very bare, and weather-beaten, 
while near nie they were covered with wood. This led me to 
conclude that farther westward they were open to the sea 
winds, and that there the channel ended. By the observations, I 
found that we were* nearly in the longitude of Christmas 
Sound, and in latitude 54° 5¥ S., being therefore twenty miles 
south of the end of Admiralty Sound, but considerably to the 
westward of it. This position, and the bearings and estimated 
distances, showed me that the other arm of this long channel 
opened near the spot where Mr. Murray laid down (near the 
head of Christmas Sound) a ' channel, running to the east- 
ward, beyond eyesight ; ' and that the branch in which I was 
must lead towards the bay or sound to the N.W. of Christmas 
Sound, at the base of very high land, which Mr. Murray laid 
down as ' an unbroken range of snow-covered mountains.' The 
time of high water in this channel exactly corresponded with 
that on the adjacent sea-coast, but did not nearly agree wit 
that of the Strait of Magalhaens. These facts, and the appear- 
ance of the land, removed every doubt in my mind of the 
existence of an unbroken chain of mountains, reaching from the 
Barbara Channel to the Bell Mountain, and I therefore decided 
to spend no further time in searching thereabouts for a passage 
northward, but make all haste to examine the exterior shores. 

" The channel here was about a mile wide, but the moun- 
tains on each side rising so abruptly, made it appear nmch 
narrower. It might be a good passage for a ship to sail 
through, from the westward, were it not for the trouble and 
anxiety of getting in with the land at the right place ; and 
that a ship might sail on her course, in the open sea, by 
night as well as by day ; but